Posts Tagged ‘prevention’

Antisocial Personality Disorder

March 26, 2010

Antisocial Personality Disorder

This destructive personality disorder tends to emerge from childhood patterns of a disregard for the feelings and rights of others and for family, institutional, or social conventions,rules and laws. Childhood diagnoses for such behavior patterns are Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. These disorders are listed under Axis I in the DSM-IV. I have presented them here with Axis II disorders because I think it is important that you see the tendency of these childhood problems to evolve into similar but more fully developed adult behavior patterns. It does not always happen, but all too frequently these behavior patterns tend to develop through one or two other child and adolescent diagnoses into its fully mature manifestation known as Antisocial Personality Disorder. The developmental steps toward the fully mature personality disorder are as follows:

In Oppositional Defiant Disorder, children challenge adult rules and demands, argue with adults, have often have bad temper problems, lie and blame others for their troubles. These problems normally start before puberty at around eight years of age.

Conduct Disorder is a more severe pattern of problem behaviors in which the rights of others are frequently violated. These children often lie, cheat, damage property, and run away from school and/or home. They may often aggress against others and may even hurt animals for entertainment. Other illegal activities such a robbery, extortion, rape, and murder may also occur in extreme cases. Conduct disorder can start sometime before 10 years or in later adolescence.

When an individual reaches the age of 18 years and still shows the enough of the previously mentioned behavior patterns they will be diagnosed as antisocial personality disorder. Individuals showing these behavior patterns are also sometimes called “sociopaths” or “psychopaths”; the names may change–but the behaviors the same.

As adults, these people show a strong disregard for the rights of others and the rule of law. They appear to have failed to develop the ability to empathize with others and they do not suffer conscious pangs of consciousness if they hurt or kill others. They are impulsive, seek thrills, take risks, are unreliable, spend money foolishly, can be irritable and aggressive, and have trouble maintaining close relationships with anyone. The motto for this category of diagnosis may be “if I want it—I’ll take it, if it feels good—I’ll do it: lying, cheating, manipulating, and stealing is good fun.”

A Representative Example

Not surprisingly, these individuals have problems with drug and alcohol addiction and are often sentenced to prison for criminal behavior. Charles Manson is often cited as someone who shows many of the features of antisocial personality disorder, as well as other psychological problems.

A thirty year old man sought help from a therapist because he claimed to be having problems with his wife and wished to leave her for his girlfriend, of over one year. He attended only several sessions and attempted to persuade the therapist that leaving his wife and four children for his girlfriend was the right thing for him to do.

He contended that his wife was unstable. When the therapist discussed his responsibilities to his wife and children, and his moral obligation to work on his problem (actually only his reported “problem”) he did not return. Predictably he did not pay the bill for his sessions.

It was apparent that he was seeking a psychologist to support him in an impending court battle with his wife. At the start of the first session, this individual, with unmistakable pride and pleasure, reeled off a report of the drugs he had taken (nearly all that we might think of), the fights, the high speed chases with the police, fires that he set, a car he blew up, a “knee capping” (“shoot the guy in the knee cap –it won’t kill them but it will hurt like hell–and others won’t mess with you anymore”), and a stint in prison. He seemed excited to tell the therapist what he called the “Sicilian Motto”: “The sweetest form of forgiveness is revenge!” Yes, these and similar behavior patterns extended back into this man’s childhood; and yes, the diagnosis was antisocial personality disorder.

As you may already surmised, his wife’s psychological problems were largely a result of living with him. She would eventually  divorce him, but he would remain a very damaging factor in his children’s lives. If he would remain connected to him, which is doubtful, he would be a very bad model for them to imitate. If he deserted them, they would suffer feelings of abandonment for the rest of their lives. It is common for such divorcing personality disordered individuals to remain unreliably connected to their ex spouses and children to frustrate and torture their ex and to propagandize their children against her or him. They will frequently spend significant sums of money and time to hire lawyers to drain their meager funds with legal fees and make them miserable.

The above is a strong example of how behavioral contagion can damage others who are associated with someone who suffers from a serious personality disorder. Unfortunately, research strongly indicates that anti-social personality disorder has a significant heritability factor and so behavior patterns similar to those of the problem parent are more likely to show-up in the children as they mature.

Suspected Causes


Antisocial personality disorder is perhaps the best researched of all the personality disorders. There is strong evidence that tendencies to show antisocial personality disorder can be inherited. Many studies have demonstrated elevated correlations in antisocial behavior of within families.

While some of the similarities could be due to imitation factors, children adopted and raised by adoptive parents still show stronger correlations for antisocial behavior with their biological parents than with their adoptive parents.

There is evidence that individuals with antisocial tendencies have slower central nervous systems, lower levels of autonomic nervous system arousal and slower skin conductance than normal individuals. They crave excitement and are not much affected by punishing consequences for their inappropriate behavior. One of the earmarks such individuals is their failure to learn from their painful experiences.


Antisocial personality disordered individuals are very likely to have lived in families that experienced poverty, disorganization, discord, family violence, divorce, abuse and abandonment. Presumably as a result of this, antisocial individuals do not trust others and they lack the moral development and interpersonal empathy so important to normal social relationships.

It is also thought that antisocial parents may teach their children to behave in similar ways through their modeling these behavior patterns and children learning to imitate them. Furthermore, it is very possible that when children tantrum, argue, and become aggressive to parental instructions that parents may “give-in” and terminate their demands, thereby teaching the children to behave in these oppositional and coercive ways to authority figures.

It should also be noted that Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder seem to at an increased risk of eventually being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

It is likely that any, or all, of these factors could contribute to the development of antisocial personality disorder in any specific case.

Take care to protect yourselves and loved ones from the effects of Antisocial Behavior patterns. Vote for representatives who will work to protect society from increasing rates of Antisocial Behavior patterns.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 3/26/10

Schizoid Personality Disorder

March 25, 2010

Schizoid Personality Disorder

People who show these behavior patterns are detached from social relationships with others, including their family. They do not want, and do not enjoy, the company of others. They prefer to be alone and normally choose hobbies and vocational activities accordingly. They lack close friends, tend to be unaffected by praise or criticism, and appear cold, aloof, detached, and without emotions.

A Fictitious Example

A family was referred to a psychologist for therapy and parent training by the regional Welfare Department. The children were dirty and showed many other signs of neglect and abuse. The mother was of borderline-normal intelligence and lacked the skills, motivation, and knowledge to care for her children. The father was a cross country truck driver who spent vast amounts of time alone while working. During time-off, while at home, he seldom interacted with the members of his family except to handle the routine matters of cohabitation: vehicle and house repairs, finances, transportation, etc. He had no close friends and refused to attend various social functions. The father encountered the psychologist, and obtained a diagnosis, because of an agency referral of his family. As is typical, was not a bad person and he did not hate people, he was not interested in changing his ways and preferred to be left alone.

Suspected Causes

Schizoid personality disordered individuals frequently have suffered various kinds of neglect and/or physical abuse as well as rejection and various forms of hostility from others. For example this man’s own father was deserted by his mother during his first year. He was raised by his maternal grandparents who were cold, rejecting and abusive to him. He recounted being forced to eat strong tasting fish until it gaged him and caused him to vomit onto his plate at the table. He was then force to eat his vomit. He was made to stand outside in the cold for long periods because he upset his grandmother. When he failed to let the dog out on schedule, the dogs excrement was picked up by his grandmother and thrown in his face.

Most folks would understand why he might not wish to be close with other human beings. The only problem is that to create emotionally healthy children, one needs the ability to feel warmth and love for them and to also spend quality time with them.

Do not forget that the damaging effects of a personality disorder are damaging to the many people who interact with the individual who has this psychological problem. The negative effects of these behaviors can be very contagious to others. As a society we must reduce the conditions that increase the rate of occurrence of this and other psychological problems within our population.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.,    3/25/10

Mood Disorders: The Equal Opportunity Destroyer

November 25, 2009

Mood Disorders: The Equal Opportunity Destroyers

Mood disorders involve abnormally high (energetic, happy or euphoric) or low (low energy, sad and hopeless) feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. Part of the definition of  a mood disorder has to do with how high or low a person’s mood goes and how long it remains in the abnormal extremes. Also, one class of mood disorder is defined by moderate or extreme vacillations between these poles. This vacillating mood disorder is call Bi-Polar Disorder and its extremes are identified as Mania (high) or Depression (low).

Modernity has many advantages, but there are disadvantages too. Alarmingly, mood disorders, particularly depression, appear to be increasing in rates of occurrence in modernizing countries around the world. Why do you think this is might be the case?

You might suspect that many things could contribute to such a trend. Higher rates of sociocultural change can be stressful and alienating. New technological developments were supposed to provide more free time, but they often raise expectations for “multi-tasking” and greater productivity.

Increased mobility erodes social support networks and separates extended and nuclear families from one another. New opportunities for wealth and material possessions also motivates increased work and reduces the time that family members and friends spend together, as well as participation in traditional spiritual activities and rituals. Rapid business evolutions and economic changes can uproot families and remove them from highly supportive and rewarding social environments. The advance of science and technology seems to diminish the attractiveness of religious involvement and this source of community and spiritual support.

The increase in working mothers has led to the increase in use of Day Care, or other paid “baby sitters” , for infants and young children.  This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in family-based child rearing practices resulting in the loss of traditional acculturating influences that produced historically familiar manners, mores, and folkways that supported group cohesion and a sense of belonging.

 High rates of immigration (legal and illegal) of populations from dramatically different cultures and dramatically different religious influences can bring a sense of isolation and alienation to both immigrants and indigenous populations.

A pervasive entertainment media which showcases historically deviant life-styles (beliefs, values, and behaviors) can accelerate the process of traumatically isolating and alienating change within cultures. This process is already far advanced in America.

All of these things, and more, can be implicated in the increase of  psychological disorders in modernizing sociocultures such as America.

There is strong empirical and theoretical support for many of these ideas, but the debate about why virtually all developing societies show increased mental heath problems will go on for a long time.

I will increasingly focus upon numerous psychological disorders that are increasingly prevalent in America. These psychological disorders  are not only harmful to the persons that suffer from them, they are damaging to others who live with (or are in contact with) the afflicted individual. This is because the effects of these psychological disorders can spread from one individual to others via scientifically validated mechanisms.

The term I use for this problem of spreading psychopathology within a population is Behavioral Contagion.  This natural phenomenon is seldom discussed or recognized as a major mechanism in a sociocultures’ decline. But, in my opinion, understanding, predicting, and controlling this ruinous force is essential for America’s avoiding a long, painful, and disastrous decline.

As I continue to focus on various psychological disorders in the weeks to come, I do so because they are in large part preventable. American medicine has learned to prevent many of the causes of massive human suffering and loss within its population, and elsewhere. It is time that America does the same with the causes of massive human suffering in the afflicted and then the spread within our society via the mechanisms of  behavioral contagion.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.    11/25/09

How We Create Psychological Disorders In Our Adults

November 22, 2009

How We Create Psychological Disorders In Our Adults.

(The following is an update of a blog that I originally wrote on 11/22/09)

So, how do we create psychological disorders in our adults?

We create psychological disorders in adults by creating them in children. We look the other way as children and teens are continually damaged while they grow to adults, most carrying their totally unnecessary and environmentally inflicted psychological problems with them. 

Charlie Manson once warned, and I paraphrase: These children who come at you with knives, I didn’t teach them, you did…they are your children!

Yes, the truth can come from bizarre places.

The facts are that we allow hundreds of thousands of whoever ends-up making America’s babies, to create the damaging conditions under which infants, children, and adolescents must live and suffer for at least 18 years or more. The damage is done during most formative years of these children’s and teens lives.

What most do not appreciate is that we allow parents, care-takers, and others to do damaging things, often irreparably damaging things, to precious helpless children and teens…long after we identify that they are being severely damaged.  The damaging parents (step parents, parent’s boyfriends or girlfriends, other family members, friends or acquaintances) are allowed to continue to do things. As a result these children can be psychologically harmed for life, injured, killed, or even motivate to kill others. 

All of this now should be painfully clear to all.

In the midst of  ongoing and massively publicized abuse, neglect, rape, and murder of our children; as well as murder of others by our children and teens, we still do not powerfully and effectively intervene to save them and prevent the ongoing resulting human ruination and carnage.

Some might assert that we are intervening and doing all that we reasonably can. But this is not true.

I know it is not true because, as a practicing psychologist I am a sad part of the system that is failing miserably. I have often called the Child Protective Services branch of our Welfare System to report negligent, drug or alcohol-addicted, emotional or physically abusing parents (married, divorced, or never-married)… only to see nothing done, or if something is done, it is too often fails, in a too-little-to-late attempt.

I have made recommendations to courts when divorced, or never-married fathers and mothers, one or both, are warring against the other. They frequently do this by childishly and hatefully propagandizing their children against the other parent. The frequently take their anger out on their children, or step children .This often goes on, one court appearance after another, over years of time; precious years of damaged child development with no resolution to help the children.

Based upon 36 years as a professor of psychology and 40 years of private practice experience and judgment, I have referred very seriously disturbed children and adolescents to inpatient treatment programs only to see many of them turned away because “they do not need that level of treatment”. In decades past, this almost never happened.

When things like these do not make sense, I have learned to attribute the failures to short-sighted increasingly liberal permissive policies and the greater value of parents rights and a disregard of the rights of our children in the court system.

I have also learned to follow the money/insurance…or lack of it, when it comes to mental health services.

I have concluded that all of these and other increasing social and political problems are a reflection of America’s unrelenting cultural decline. This decline is caused by a confluence of many damaging evolutions that are too numerous to catalog here. However, not the least of these many is a general decline in the quality of America’s families as well as religious influences in churches, homes, the media and society at large.

At 75 years of age, watching all of these systemic failures of voting citizens, government, agencies, churches, parents and the media to protect America’s children from psychological harm is very painful. It is the most difficult part of my life.

Some would accuse me of idly complaining about these problems while I do not offer any solutions.

However, I am doing all that I know how to do.

I am just one voice doing my best to define America’s massive child-rearing and acculturation problems. In other writings I have attempted to illustrate and explain these problems and their causes. I have done all of this hoping that finally, our society will develop the courage and dedication necessary to intervene early and forcefully to protect our precious children from the harmful outcomes we horrify most everyone now. 

Wake-up America!

Sadly, if we fail to save our children, we fail to save ourselves and there is much more suffering to come.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., Health Services Provider in Psychology,   2/16/18


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

November 17, 2009

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy put their infants at risk for biological damage. Binge drinking among college students and early alcohol consumption among teens has increased dramatically. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risks of a newborn infant suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS often shows itself in head and facial deformities that tend to create elf-like facial features, slow growth, abnormal joints (feet, fingers, toes), heart defects, tremors and agitation in newborns, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, abnormal brain development and possible mild to moderate mental retardation.

Rough estimates of the occurrence of FAS are 1 to 2 of every 1000 babies. This figure increases to around 29 of 1000 women who heavily consume alcohol early in their pregnancies.

In general, Alcohol consumption among our female population has also increased in recent decades. Guidelines for the safe consumption of alcohol during pregnancy are not clear and this has led many health professionals to recommend zero alcohol use during pregnancy.

This leaves society with three major problems: The first is that many pregnant women do not get this message. Secondly, many of the women who do understand that alcohol is dangerous to their in-utero developing babies simply behave irresponsibly: some knowingly take the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. In many other cases pregnant women are addicted to alcohol and believe they cannot control their alcohol intake. Finally, and most diabolically, women may drink alcohol during that early time interval when they have not yet discovered that they are pregnant.

 Physical and neurological damage caused by woman who consume alcohol or other drugs during pregnancy cannot be cured. These infants are damaged for the rest of their lives. The effects of these impairments will reverberate for at least three generations: the mother’s life, the child’s life, and the lives of the many others with whom the damaged and growing person will interact. The costs in lost human potential and financial resources of substance abuse to the unborn and society are huge and difficult to establish.

What, in general,  are the costs of an impaired child through life?  There are the costs of special education, unemployment, medical care and welfare. Insurance costs must increase as well as our taxes. What about the costs of crime law enforcement, prosecution, prison?

We seldom think about the costs to us all of the behavioral contagion that I have outlined above.  If we fail to control these costs to society through prevention, this human source drain upon our health and viabilitycan destroy America’s health and viability.

We must  prevent FAS and other factors that destroy our children.

I am reminded of a nursery rhyme from my childhood:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the Kings men and all the Kings horses couldn’t put poor Humpty Dumpty together again.”

The prevention of our human problems is the best way.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.  11/17/09

Disruptive Behavior Disorders In America’s Children

November 6, 2009

Disruptive Behavior Disorders In America’s Children

All children will misbehave from time to time. Fatigue, sickness, stressful situations, and simple immaturity will be enough to ensure some balking, back talk, or outright opposition to parental requests or instructions. Also, as children mature, they have their own social goals and conflicts that can complicate the harmony of family living even further. As my dear father once said with laughter: “Adolescence is God’s way of helping parents to let go.” Mom and Dad had four children, each 5 years apart. We never understood their master plan, but you can be sure that they spent the majority of their years together raising kids. I watched from the vantage point of the eldest and I know that we had marvelous parents (am completely unbiased?). And, of course, we were all “reasonably good kids” (am I totally objective in this judgment, also?).

Even though we were “pretty good” kids, from time to time, there was trouble in paradise and we kids were clearly the trouble with Mom and Dad. Normal kids will almost certainly present problems, but they will present normal problems.

Starting tomorrow, I will post developmental problems that are notable  because they are especially disruptive. They are disruptive to school, normal family settings, many community settings, and to the child’s own social, emotional and educational development.

Therefore they are among those psychological disorders that must be prevented, or improved early, when they first become a problem.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/05/09

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

November 4, 2009

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a special category of psychological problems caused by personal exposure to actual or threatened death or serious injury to one’s self or others. It can be caused by learning of similar lethal or damaging things happening to parents, siblings, friends or other loved ones. Natural disasters, war, family violence, gang violence, child abuse, child sex abuse, life-threatening illnesses, etc., are all experiences that can elicit very disturbing symptoms in both children and adults.


Common symptoms of PTSD are persistent distressing recollections, dreams, illusions (misperceptions of things), and “flashbacks” or unwanted and alarming memories of the traumatic event. Victims often relive the event in startling encounters with smells, sounds, and visions that remind them of the original trauma. They persistently attempt to avoid all reminders the traumatic event and they complain of the numbing of their feelings, emotional unresponsiveness and feelings of detachment. PTSD victims often have trouble sleeping, have poor concentration, irritability, hyper-vigilance and frequently show an exaggerated startle response. They experience significant distress or impairment with symptoms lasting at least one month.

With young children, bad dreams about a traumatic event can turn into nightmares about unrelated monsters or other upsetting events. They may have night terrors, in which they become terrified in their sleep but do not recall what they were afraid of. Children often re-enact the trauma in their play with toy people (soldiers, police, criminals, etc.) and cars, planes, or boats, etc.. They may re-enact events with playmates. Children will often have a sense of foreboding about the future and may tell others that they do not expect to live very long. They may also develop physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.

PTSD symptoms normally begin within three months of a trauma and can last over 12 months

PTSD is a sneaky psychological disorder in that some children and adults may experience a traumatic event, but the display of PTSD symptoms may be delayed for 6 months, or more. It is important to remain vigilant and ready to seek professional assistance for a time well-after a child (or adult) experiences some form of trauma.

Also, those who experience a traumatic event can develop a similar, but shorter duration, psychological disorder which lasts from two days to a maximum of four weeks and starts within four weeks of the trauma. This condition also merits close professional attention and is called an Acute Stress Disorder.

There is a risk that those with PTSD can also develop other disorders that are more long-standing, such as various anxiety disorders, depression, or substance-abuse disorders and more. This is just one more reason to seek professional assistance should these symptoms occur.

A Case Study

A 17-year-old male had shown a 10 year history of hyperactivity, disruptive and oppositional behavior in school, home and other organized events. He was very irritable and explosive with his emotions. The adolescent had very few friends, was socially inappropriate, and he frightened his parents and teachers with intimidation and threats to hurt them or himself. He had been hospitalized on two occasions and had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and Bipolar disorder (a very serious form of mood swings). The outpatient therapist was able to help the parents and the boy through repeated crises, and to some extent stabilize his performance in school. However, severe problems continued to occur from time to time.

During one, particularly productive session, the 17-year-old finally revealed the details of months of physical abuse he had suffered at the hands of his mother’s  alcoholic-drug abusing boyfriend. He showed the therapist numerous wounds on his body which had healed into ugly scars. He talked about the man holding him out over a high bridge and threatening to drop him when he was a young boy.  He described how the man had repeatedly threatened to kill him with a knife to his stomach and, at other times, a gun to his head.

As the boy described these traumatic events, his hands trembled involuntarily and he sweated profusely. The teen was hospitalized again, shortly there after.

I cannot state it strongly enough. America, we must do better at protecting its children from these and many other kinds of preventable traumas.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/4/09

Preventing Depression in Children and Adolescents

November 4, 2009

Preventing Depression in Children and Adolescents

The symptoms of depression are likely to show themselves in different ways, depending upon the age of the child.

Infants may show listlessness, social unresponsiveness, and slowed physical development. Children up to about 2 yrs. of age are more likely to show little curiosity and interest in play. They may be clingy, fearful, have nightmares and night terrors and show an increase in oppositional and uncooperative behavior.

Between three and five years of age children may show sadness, tiredness, slow movement poor appetite and weight loss. They may also show withdrawal, apathy, irritability and anger. Some children may begin to express thoughts of suicide.

From 6 to 12 years depressed behavior begins to look more similar to that of adults. They may express their depressed feelings as well as suicidal thoughts. They may have difficulty feeling pleasure and show signs of low self-esteem, apathy, withdrawal, and low motivation. Poor school performance is common as are physical complaints, oppositional behavior, social problems, and delinquency

Pre-adolescents and adolescents ages 12-18 years are more likely to “act-out” their depression. They may show volatile moods, rage, various forms of delinquency, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, suicidal thinking, self-abuse, and over-eating and sleeping. There may be guilt and feelings of worthlessness and the inability to concentrate and make decisions. School under achievement and suicidal thinking are also common.

It is estimated that 2-4% of our children under 17 yrs. Suffer from a major depression and the percent for teens is about 7%. There is no apparent difference in depression rates between boys and girls until about 11 years of age. After this time girls are twice as likely to be depressed as boys.

Causes of Depression

There are many causes of childhood depression. Genetics and changes in brain chemistry appear to play a role as does child abuse, abandonment, divorce, and loss of a loved ones to death or divorce. Other factors that are traumatic or negative life events can also be involved, such as rejection by significant others, imitation of significant depression in others, learning to be helpless, and the loss of rewarding people, things, and conditions. The factors that cause child and adolescent depression are similar to those that cause adult depression. Depression may go undetected by others until they intensify and are identified later in adult years. Frequently, adults will admit that they do not remember a time when they were not depressed. This is regrettable, because depression can severely limit ones success throughout life.

Depression can be improved or cured

A 16-year-old adolescent was brought to a therapist because he was flunking his tenth grade classes and was “into” Goth dress, literature, music and friends. He had ceased communicating with most people, stayed in his room at home, and was found to be using marijuana and cigarets. The teen would not communicate with the therapist. As a result of the various dangers involved in this case, the parents were advised to enter their son in an adolescent treatment center for psychological assessment, intensive individual and group counseling and substance abuse treatment. A psychiatrist prescribed antidepressant medication and after about two weeks he was discharged to his parents care and returned to his psychologist for further out-patient family and individual counseling. The teen’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors gradually improved greatly in all ways.

It is important to review the known causes of Depression because in doing so we are in a better position to prevent, catch early and improve or cure depression in ourselves and our loved ones.

An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, 11/4/09

Bad Bet Gets Worse

October 19, 2009

Bad Bet Gets Worse

On July 22, 2001 in a South Bend Tribune Michiana Point of View article I authored, I said the following:

“This nation’s social viability is increasingly impaired by poor cultural planning and increasing rates of population maladaptive behavior. Why would such an afflicted culture legalize and encourage gambling activities that damage individuals and ultimately our whole society?”

“I must conclude that our government has predated its citizens in the 1980’s by legalizing gambling and taxing its new revenues.”

Myself and others, such as John D. Wolf of the Indiana Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, spoke out in the 1980’s about the self-defeating nature of legalized gambling. We tried to warn of governmental addiction to short-term gains at the expense of long term damage to individuals, families and communities. All to no avail.

Now the South Bend Tribune states in Our Opinion: “The Bad Bet Gets Only Worse” (9/5/2009).

The following are two quotes from that article:

“Among 39 states that have lotteries, according to a study released in September by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the average overall lottery income declined 2.3 percent—at the same time Indiana’s take dropped by 17.5 percent.”

“Indiana’s penchant for leaning heavily on gambling as a source of revenue is seriously misguided, both because it is not sustainable and because of the toll it takes on families.”

We tried to warn everyone. The fix will now be far more painful than the prevention.

VTM, 10/19/09

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