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Gambling Addiction Problem Development

Abstract: Several phases of gambling addiction are described.

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Gambling Addiction Problem Development

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

The Development of Gambling Addiction Problems: How do they arise?


In the case of gambling, there are different phases that lead to addiction.

1 st phase : in this phase gambling is considered a nice pastime. Gambling means fun, excitement and amusement. The feeling of self-esteem rises and the person experiences physical excitement from gambling. Losses are justified. The gambler wins, loses, pays back small loans and borrows again. All the borrowing is used to be able to play again.

2 nd phase : the losing phase: the gambler is gambling with borrowed money. Money is taken from savings accounts or borrowed from the bank. The loans are kept secret from parents, partners and family members. Later in this phase, the gambler starts to borrow more from banks, friends, family, the company and private lenders. The gambler gets into fights and conflicts with the people around him due to his gambling. The gambler promises that he will really stop, but he breaks these promises just as fast as he makes them. In this phase the gambler may lose his job because of sickness, absences or fraud, get divorced, get into contact with police, etc.

3 rd phase : the desperate phase: gambling becomes a full-time occupation. The gambler becomes the black sheep of the family, work is a failure because he has his mind elsewhere and he can get involved in crime in order to obtain money. The optimism of the gambler declines. He becomes restless, irritated, very nervous, and gets sleeping problems. In this phase, gamblers can become physically and mentally exhausted and they feel desperate and helpless. The gambler declines into social and psychological isolation.

Many people with a gambling problem are also addicted to substances, because these are often consumed in the establishments where the gambling occurs.

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