The IPL has been in the headlines all week for two principal reasons: betting and spot fixing. These, however, happen to be only a couple among a host of gambling-related activities that are not only widespread, but, psychologists warn, can assume pathological proportions. Psychologists term this irrepressible habit as “pathological gambling”, which essentially is an impulse-control disorder. “Such individuals typically don’t think of the consequences of their actions. They know they could lose money but continue out of an irresistible urge to do so,” explained K. John Vijay Sagar, associate professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS. But not everybody who gambles is a pathological gambler. The National Council on Problem Gambling defines problem gambling as “behaviour which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational”.

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