Problem gambling refers to excessive gambling activity and to interpersonal and vocational problems that resulted from gambling. In explaining the causes of problem gambling behaviour, the dominant approach nowadays is to treat it as a kind of sickness related to addiction. Hence the term pathological gambling is coined to describe problem gambling behaviour. Such a medical description, however, represents an attempt to understand and explain in medical terms behaviours that violate normative expectation and hence value of society. It is argued that by so doing, pathologists are able to hide their value judgement and to present their viewpoint as an objective truth. In the following paragraphs I will first briefly describe how pathological approach understands and describes problem gambling in terms of the APA model – the Diagnostic Statistic Manual of the American Psychiatric Association before examining in details common problems found in such conceptualisation and classification. As will be argued in the following paper, the diagnostic criteria of APA is not a very good model in conceptualising problem gambling behaviour when compared with other pathological approaches that are more able to distinguish different aspects of problem gambling behaviours and hence can better avoid the charge of “cloaking the small-town values of conservative reformers in seemingly objective medical terms”
Social problems generally refer to phenomena that are not morally accepted by majority of people in the society. They are either regarded as bad things harming our society, or as activities that violate our expectation on what a good society should be. The value judgement found in social problem inevitably conflicts with the study of medicine and pathology that are supposed to be scientific and objective … As seen in our discussion above … As history has demonstrated a close connection between medicine and social behaviours bred eugenic movement...
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