In the Health Decree presented during the summer break by the Health Minister Balduzzi is the recognition of a new disease: compulsive gambling. The greatest concern focuses on children should be protected from all forms of gambling to start from betting online, now heavily publicized. President Giorgio Napolitano signed the text of the Decree which contains rules on the games. In particular, the regulatory action of the government intervenes with:
1 – insertion of gambling addiction in the LEA (the basic level of health care)
2 – limits on advertising in the game
3 – plan for relocation of the slot on the territory
4 – increase checks on the presence of children in the slot rooms and agencies
In addition, the decree will force the stop of TV and radio spots during programs “aimed primarily at young people”, as well as limits for web and newspapers, advertising will be banned on the game with cash prizes over television or radio broadcasting and theater or film designed primarily for young people.
Both Confcommercio, as the medical expert in the field, while riding conditions very different, are not convinced that the measures announced by the government to work. On the one hand, the fear of the business world in this time of crisis is risky to take measures that would penalize an industry destined to suffer further contraction in consumption and on the other, the idea that we should address the problem with interventions of a different nature that more closely involve the scientific community.
To get to an official recognition of a disease linked to the game, you have to wait until the end of the twentieth century. Although compulsive gambling is spoken by the early ‘900, it was officially recognized as a disease in 1980, with the III version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), placing it in the category of Impulse Control Disorders Not Classified elsewhere, that is not related to the clinical picture of other disorders.
In order to speak of pathological gambler must outline a gradual loss of ability to self-limit their gambling behavior, leading to absorb more and more time during the day, causing serious problems in various areas of their lives: family, social, occupational, of health. When the game becomes an addiction trigger compulsive behaviors at every moment of the day is organized to groped luck, spending large sums of money, obsessively searching for a win. In pathological gambler is experiencing symptoms of tolerance, characterized by the need to increase the amount of time to devote to the game, and withdrawal symptoms, characterized by anxiety and irritability if the game is stopped. The fundamental characteristic of the disorder of impulse control is the inability to resist an impulse or a compelling desire: the subject feels tension or arousal before committing the growing action and gratification or relief at the time when the agent; in may be located remorse and guilt. The diagnostic criteria that define pathological gambling in the DSM-IV-TR describe him as a maladaptive behavior, persistent and recurrent, with repercussions on the economic and relational, and some characteristics similar to those of the substance addiction such as’ excessive involvement in, the need to gamble increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement, failure in attempts to stop the behavior, restlessness and irritability caused by an attempt to break the habit and impairment of important social activities or work. The Tenth Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) describes pathological gambling in the chapter on disorders of habits and impulses, characterized by repeated acts and controllable that have no clear rationale and generally endanger the interests of the patient and other people.
Currently discussing whether to classify in a single chapter in the next edition of the DSM disorders related to substances and so-called behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling.