For compulsive gamblers, there are usually four phases or pathological gambling stages that they usually experience in the course of their struggle. Some may experience all while others may skip a stage. But these phases are fairly common occurrences in the realm of pathological gambling. Family members should be wary if they suspect a loved one to be struggling with gambling. Furthermore, they shouldn’t wait until the last phase before seeking professional help.
1. The Winning Phase
A gambling problem often begins with a big win. This would often trigger the need for more frequent trips to casinos or online gambling sites. This initial upswing in luck will also prompt the beginning of bigger wages. A “big win” will often enhance self-image and cause the person to fantasize about winning more in the future.
2. The Losing Phase
In this stage, personality changes may be evident as the need to gamble becomes more and more intense. Usually, the excitement and thrill of gambling overtakes the thoughts of the individual and causes him or her to crave the activity. While winning prompts the start of the compulsion, it’s losing that keeps the individual from leaving the table.
This stage is also characterized with the emergence of lies, cover-ups, and money being borrowed as the individual loses control over his or her desire to gamble. Relationships may begin to deteriorate as a result.
3. The Desperation Phase
When debts pile up and money is nowhere to be found, the person may begin to look for any means to get money, be it legal or illegal. At this stage, he or she will think of gambling as a means to recover losses. But at the same time feel afraid that if they do not have enough money, then they will not be able to gamble. The individual clings to the hope that a big win is just around the corner and that one last game will help him or her recoup losses.
4. The Hopeless Phase
This is the most serious and dangerous phase. Here is where the individual experiences the consequences of his or her actions. Arrests, substance abuse, divorce, and other problems begin to materialize. Those who have reached this stage may realize that winning is out of their hands, but they no longer care. This kind of despair may lead to attempted suicide.
Before a loved one who is suffering from compulsive gambling reaches the final two stages of the condition, you need to help him or her seek gambling therapy. Contact us at Williamsville Wellness to learn more about how we can help your loved one overcome pathological gambling. We are able to help those with a compulsive gambler personality with our deep experience with gambling addictions and the treatments that have a good history of success. Regardless of which stage of gambling addiction you or your loved one is dealing with, we will be happy to assist in breaking the cycle and starting recovery. You can help catch a pathological gambling addiction early by knowing these common stages of addiction.