Gambling Addiction Stages
Gambling addicts continue to gamble in spite of the adverse effects of their gambling activities on their work, college, career, personal relationships, and finances. They lose their ability to manage their money, as a result of which their unpaid bills and debts pile up, making them feel worse than ever. Although their gambling activities put them through hell and they desperately want to quit, addicts cannot keep away from the casinos.
According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, gambling addiction has four stages : Winning Stage, Losing Stage, Desperation Stage, and Hopeless Stage. However, one can add the Recovery Stage to this list and make it a total of five stages of gambling addiction.
Winning Stage : All gambling addicts begin by winning their bets. Usually, they win a large cash prize and immediately feel that they will win many more big prizes.
The desire for another big cash prize drives them to the casinos and forces them to make excessively large bets. When the desired big win does not come, they are unable to accept the simple truth that casinos give away lesser in prizes than they accept in the form of bets.
Instead, they start chasing their losses and become poorer and poorer as they days pass.
Losing Stage : The one-time big winner is now a big loser at the casino. To make matters worse, the addict cannot get gambling out of his/her head.
During this stage, gambling addicts start visiting casinos on their own, take loans from friends and family members, skip college or work, tell lies, and cannot pay back their loans and bills.
They had already begun chasing losses during the Winning Stage, but during the Losing Stage, they chase losses more than ever.
Desperation Stage : Problem gamblers completely lose control over themselves in the Desperation Stage. Whenever they rise broke from the casino tables, they feel guilty, but they simply cannot quit the habit of gambling.
Instead, they start lying and cheating to obtain the funds required for gambling. At this stage, they find themselves nobodies as they have lost their jobs and their precious relationships. Some of them might even get arrested for fraud and cheating.
Hopeless Stage : Gamblers in trouble just don’t care anymore. They are now absolutely sure that nobody cares for them and that nobody can help them. They start contemplating suicide and may even attempt suicide. Many of them take drugs and alcohol to deal with the loss and pain.
Recovery Stage : During this stage, gambling addicts realize through the help of their counsellors, therapists, or courageous family members that they can rebuild their ruined lives and regain what they have lost.
Unfortunately, compulsive gamblers realize that they are in trouble only when they find themselves in the Hopeless Stage.
The Recovery Stage is possible only if the gambling addict understands he/she has a problem and is willing to overcome it using methods such as Gamblers Anonymous, therapists, and counsellors.