When problems are not addictions

When problems are not addictions

11 Mar 2011

Less than a week after a 66-day stint in rehab, Brendan Fevola was asked to leave Crown Casino after he was seen playing poker. Fevola said that his gambling addiction isn’t associated with the card game and that he wasn’t at risk to relapse. This has made the issue about ‘problem gambling’ not ‘gambling’ says Stephen Andrew, La Trobe University School of Public Health.

Poker‘It's not uncommon for people who report serious levels of problematic gambling behaviour when using electronic gaming machines to buy lottery tickets or bet on horses with no ill effects. It is uncommon to find problem gambling behaviour extending beyond one particular method of gambling,’ says Mr Andrew.

Fevola’s behaviour has been magnified in the media as he has spoken candidly about his battles with gambling and alcohol. Although the former Brisbane Lions player has made attempts to recover with rehab, assessment of his situation in the public spotlight can lead to confusion as there is some uncertainty whether excessive gambling can fit the standard diagnostic criteria of an addiction, says Mr Andrew. 

‘Whether Fevola's card playing was problematic, to him or to others, cannot be ascertained at this distance. The term "addiction" can cause great confusion because it has at least two meanings: a colloquial application that can be freely applied by anyone to almost anything, and a formal set of psychological criteria which must be measured with care and precision,’ says Mr Andrew.

Contact details for Stephen Andrew, School of Public Health:

Stephen Andrew
03 9479 3697 E: s.andrew@latrobe.edu.au

For more information please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer
T: 03 9479 5353 M: 0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au




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