Gambling is an activity of fun and leisure. But one may never know if it is getting converted into addiction. The addiction to gambling may show no symptoms or the signs may be so subtle that they may go un-noticed in the very beginning. Moreover, the addiction to gambling is associated to the mental and psychological health more than the physical well being. Dealing with mind and the brain has always been a much tedious job. Hence, gambling addiction, though not apparent, is quite more dangerous as compared to other addictions like smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction, and the addiction treatment is quite a complicated task.
Just like any other addiction, the onset of gambling addiction is not definite. One cannot know when it is going to start or has it already begun. In case of gambling, the subject is the problem gambler and the object is the act of gambling. When a person gambles for the first time, he may win or lose. If he loses, he will get obsessed and play more to win the next time, and the next and so on. If he wins, he will get over confident and play again and again to keep consistently winning. After all, who doesn’t enjoy winning? Here is where addiction sneaks into the picture.
Gambling addiction has 3 main phases during which the addiction graduates from low to high. The Winning stage is the first phase which compels the person to addiction, at least gives a kick. The addict has just begun to gamble more often than before, after his first win. This is due to over confidence. Just like one begins consuming alcohol or drugs or cigarettes after the first time they get a high, similarly after the first win a gambler tends to play more and more and drifts towards addiction. The phase stage is the Losing stage. This phase begins with one loss, just as the winning phase began with one win. In this phase, the problem gambler still wants to stick to gambling to recover the losses. He has become so obsessed to winning the game that it becomes intolerable for him to lose. The third is the phase of Depression stage. By the time a problem gambler reaches this stage, he has almost lost too much to digest and this has made him run into financial bankruptcies and debts. This mounting pressure of just losing and not winning and the load of paying the loans back kill his mind and brain and he enters the state of depression, which is the case with addicts of almost all kind of addictions.
Addiction treatment in case of gambling can be performed via many ways. Motivation and support, cognitive behavioral therapy and communities like Gamblers Anonymous are great helps in the context of addiction treatment.