Understanding Joy: The Devastation of a Gambling Addiction

Published on 17th March 2017 by

An hour long 2017 documentary made for a Maryland television station which enters the world of Joy, a 57 year old woman with a serious gambling problem. Her addiction to gambling made her lose sense of basic morality and she stole $700,000 over a seven year period from two employers, the film was made as she was awaiting sentencing for her crimes and the viewer sees her struggle to explain her crimes and her reasons for committing them to her children and the outside world. She was later sentenced to 25 years in jail, and won’t be eligible for parole until she has served 17 of those.

Psychiatric experts attempt to analyse her symptoms in front of the camera and look for neurobiological evidence showing the brain’s addiction to gambling and discuss what clinical treatment she requires to control her addictive behavior. The producers have explained that they made the film to raise awareness of the growing problem of gambling addiction, including its signs and symptoms, at a time when a growing number of Americans are developing gambling problems, and to highlight the need for prevention and interventions when somebody is displaying such signs that they may have a problem.

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