A recent news story that hit Albuquerque recently has had me thinking. The story is about gambling. The gist of it is that casinos don't target out of state guests, but rather residents of the state, to continue coming to the casinos to gamble. There's quite a few casinos throughout New Mexico, and they are all quite popular.
To me, it has always seemed common knowledge that gambling can be addictive. My understanding was that some people enjoy it because they have fun, but many others do it because they're desperate. I've been to the casinos here and seen people amassed at slot machines constantly pressing buttons, mesmerized they screen in front of them. These are not high-rollers, either. They're just average people, and many of them are probably lower-middle class citizens.
I have known people who started gambling as a way to try to get out of debt, only to end up in more debt than they could fathom. But the addiction aspect has always appeared, to me, to be the idea that even though they haven't been too successful up to now, they just might make it this time. And so they keep playing.
In this grand modern society, someone out there had to get into his/her head that because gambling can be an addiction, why not use a pill to curb it? Brilliant. Just what we need, another drug to give people. People always seem so to want an easy answer to everything. Just as compulsive gamblers want that easy out with a big win, so too do some in the medical establishment want an easy answer to curbing the gambling addiction. For more information on this, check out this article.
So now we have pills to stop gambling, to keep weight off, to impede natural bodily functions. What's next? Maybe a pill to stop that craving for soda, or fatty chips. Maybe a pill to impede a terrible addiction to soap operas, or bad sitcoms. I honestly think that pills are not the solution to our problems. And in any event, they're usually only temporary. We should be more concerned with looking for a way to benefit people in the long-term. But who am I kidding? There's less money to be made that way.
Interestingly enough, there is the possibility that some pills really do help gambling addiction. This is in the case of someone who is taking dopamine, such as for something with Parkinson's disease. The dopamine apparently makes one compulsive in many ways, one of which might be gambling. The pill helps control that compulsion. Being off the dopamine also helps, but I think the dopamine might be necessary for the person, in which case the extra pill might be useful. A more thorough and learned perspective can be found here.