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Gamblers give people the impression of villains. Of course, gamblers not only will gamble away their own salary and savings, but when they are deeply addicted, they can made various pretenses to borrow from relatives and friends, to pay off their overdue debts to usurers or financial companies. During this period, gamblers count on winning back through persistent gambling, but they continue to lose. In the end, their mental health is directly being jeopardized.

 

Some over-confident gamblers deeply believe in the fallacy that they can win back what they have lost. Whenever I interviewed gamblers at the early stage, I would like to understand first their feelings about winning and losing. When they talked about hoping to win, they would beam and as they continued with their story, they got more excited and their spirits ran high. They claimed to be "king of mahjong", "god of horse-racing" and "Mogul of Baccarat". They only thought of themselves as men with vision, with confidence and with hope, and their memory was full of these winnings. Were they really invincible? It's needless to say. And why did they keep on gambling? To win back what has been lost, to pay off the debts, and to let their families live a better life.

 

Some gamblers kept on gambling with a feeling of guilt. Maybe they regretted for the first half of their life? Maybe they felt guilty for harming their families? When they talked about losing money, their face suddenly darkened. When they talked about their debts, they became aghast. And when they talked about their families, they felt like dizzy and collapsing. No matter how strong they were, how could they stand such emotional frustration? However when they were asked why still kept on gambling, they would say they felt very guilty after losing money, because they knew their families were being harassed by debt-collectors. If they did not gamble further, how could they get money to solve their problems?

 

May I ask, when one is restive, even if a windfall is to come, one would be too languid to seize the opportunity, but would only bet wildly on soccer-matches, on outsider horses, persistently gambling on Baccarat, blindly trying to win back the previous losses, and betting wildly trying to win back relatives' debts, friends' debts and financial companies' debts? May be going to lose even the future money! If there is such a person who can win back what has been lost, who can win back to pay off the debts, who can win more than he has lost, and can win the money enough for his retirement years, well, please tell us so that we can keep a record of this. However, regardless of win or lose, what we are worried most is chaos. The human body and mind is vulnerable, even a healthy person cannot stand the above extreme excitement and tension like those in a thriller movie. Let me tell you the story of a typical gambler to see how gambling led him to mental disorder.

 

Ah Sai, about 35 years of age, married with a son and a daughter. His wife and his parents paid his debts several times. He gambled on horse-racing, thinking he had the foresight, knew how to assess horses and had racing tips. For the past two years, he turned to gamble on soccer-matches, deeply convinced that he would definitely win, claiming that it was easier to choose the winner from two teams than from 14 horses. He also bet with illegal bookmakers to pursue excitement. He once won 200,000 dollars, but very soon he lost 600,000 dollars. Then he kept on gambling, trying to win back what he had lost.

 

In the end, he exhausted all his family's resources ( in millions). He felt very guilty, thinking that he had failed his wife and his aged parents. As time went by, when his debts had not been settled yet, he began losing his temper, and he often had rows with his wife, his children and his colleagues. He was emotionally disturbed and he became sick, without appetite to eat and unable to get to sleep. The once positive and ambitious Ah Sai now was not in the mood to work and he became suicidal. He often heard someone knocking at the door, the phone ringing and someone talking to him. He suffered from illusion. Fortunately he phoned the hotline against gambling. Ah Sai's story is only tip of an iceberg.

 

hat I am worried is not how many gambling villains there are in the society, but how many gamblers and their families will become more and more chaotic, or how many of them will suffer from a mental trauma. A sociologist named Emile Durkheim (l897) pointed out that when a person suddenly becomes very rich or very poor, his mental state will become chaotic and even suicidal. This is exactly the case for gamblers. Thus their mental health are being jeopardized.

 

According to our latest information, up to the present moment, there are 71.2% of our clients are being plagued by indebtedness, 76.9% of them mentally disturbed, 14.7% of them suicidal, 22.5% physically sick, 24.2% with poor appetite, 30.5% not in the mood for work, and 42% cannot get to sleep. According to psychological diagnosis statistics, the above are symptoms of mental depression. With the daily growth of problem gambling cases, I am not only worried about many people living in the illusion of getting rich through gambling, losing their jobs and their families, what is more urgent is that more people are suffering or will suffer from depression or other mental diseases, or more seriously, the number of gamblers committing suicide is on the increase.

 

Maybe some readers will ask if Ah Sai can remedy from his problems.

 

  1. Any person should bear his own debts. Ah Sai will very likely recidivate because his wife and his parents have paid his debts time and again.
     
  2. However if he had learnt to believe "one is bound to lose for prolonged gambling, a little gambling will lead people to pursue gambling, and I am afraid I would lose" , maybe he would have won his future.Ah Sai claimed to be "the god of gambling, the king of mahjong, the king of horse-betting, having first-class foresight".
     
  3. If you feel guilty to your family, you should show your courage by expressing your feeling to your family ( if necessary, the counselling will share this part with you)
     
  4. Committing suicide is not a way out. You must give yourself a chance. You have only to make a phone call, like Ah Sai did, and you will have professional social workers to help you
     
  5. If case of finding symptoms of mental disease, seek medical treatment soonest.
     
  6. Do not neglect the mental abuse on your family such as by the harassment of debt-collectors. If they have the above symptoms, seek medical treatment soonest as well
     

It does not pay to gamble, regardless of winning or losing, if your mental health is at stake. If quitting gambling means opening a new path for yourself and for your family, why not make this wise choice? We appeal to gamblers to turn a new page by learning to be a hero for quitting gambling and not to bear the stigma of "a villain" any more.

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