How does a problem develop?

During the winning phase, the gambler experiences a big win or a series of wins that leaves him/her with unreasonable optimism that his/her winning will continue. Losses are rationalized as temporary bad luck. The gambler feels intense excitement and identifies with being a winner.

During the losing phase, the gambler often begins bragging about wins, starts gambling alone, thinks more about gambling and borrows money legally or illegally. He/she starts lying to family and friends and becomes irritable, restless and withdrawn. The gambler begins to chase losses (gamble in order to get even). He/she will borrow money or sell possessions to get gambling resources in the belief that losses can be won back.

During the desperation phase, there is a significant increase in the time spent gambling, accompanied by remorse, guilt, blaming and alienation from friends and family. Gambling takes priority over work, school, family, and other aspects of one’s life; typically nothing else matters except placing the next bet, paying the bookie or figuring out how to get to the track without people knowing. Gamblers often experience severe mood swings and exhibit visible personality changes. They may build up severe debt and engage in criminal behavior to pay for the gambling habit. Compulsive gamblers often do not see a future without and suicide may be considered as a way out.

Consequences of Addiction: