Phases of Gambling Addiction

What are the Phases of Gambling Addiction?

Gambling addiction is an addiction that involves both compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and includes various behaviors and habits, many of which are cravings. However, addiction is defined as the continued use of drugs or alcohol despite its harm to the user. Compulsive gaming, that is, the compulsive seeking of pleasure in response to a stimulus or chance is a form of addiction.

Phases of Gambling Addiction

There are four stages/phases of addiction with gambling being considered a type of addiction. These are:

Stage 1: Absorbing the Gambling Habit

The first stage of addiction is all about social interaction and building a habit. This is the stage where the gambler begins to notice and spend more time in social gambling environments.

Frequent examples of this stage would include casinos or online casinos, lottery and sports betting websites, online gambling tournaments and more. During this stage, the gambler begins to adopt social norms and poses as someone who can identify with their peers, and speak openly about their activities in social settings.

Stage 2: Exploiting Gambling Habit

Stage two of addiction begins with the overwhelming feeling of needing to gamble and playing to win. In this stage, the gambler starts to exploit their addiction by using any “hindrance” that may impede their ability to gamble. For instance, many people are unable to get away from work or everyday chores and turn to gambling for entertainment or relaxation.

If you are a member of a local sports team, you may become distracted by betting on the match and missing your aim on the field. Some gamblers use their addiction to cover for other issues, such as poor social skills or financial situations.

Stage 3: Withdrawal

In the final stage, the gambling habit has been transformed into a way of life, and the gambler is living with a daily or even hourly routine which includes regularly visiting online casinos to place bets, playing in online poker tournaments, or even going to local bookies to place bets on horses.

Some also refer to this stage as compulsive gambling. The individual in this stage is aware that the addiction is still present, but becomes desensitized to the desire to gamble. They can also state that they are unable to stop their addiction and wish to remove themselves from the situation.

Stage 4: Withdrawal of Support

This is a dangerous stage and is usually a reflection of the most dangerous stages of gambling addiction. The gambling addict often becomes isolated, withdrawing support from loved ones and their social circles as they are unable to control their urges to gamble.

They may attempt to isolate themselves, to the point where the only person they will speak to is the gambler, and even in this scenario, the individual often finds it difficult to live with the addiction.

What Are the Signs of Gambling Addiction?

When someone is under the influence of gambling, a few obvious signs of gambling addiction may appear. These include:

  • Prohibiting yourself from going near certain areas, like gaming tables, or gambling around others, like your friends.
  • Showing disregard for your personal finance and gambling.
  • Inability to hold a conversation about anything other than about money.
  • Being a risk-taker and playing the odds without any thought or strategy.
  • Having a behavior involving high stakes gambling.
  • Having repetitive thoughts about gambling or gambling.

Having a gambling problem is not a character flaw or anything else, but rather an addiction to gambling. It’s a highly destructive addiction that can end in bankruptcy, serious injuries or death.

How Can Someone Get Gambling Addiction Help?

Fortunately, there is now a range of help options available.

  • The first step is to decide whether you want to get professional help for your gambling addiction. In order to obtain professional help, your primary care provider may refer you to a mental health professional. This is often the only professional you will see for treatment. Contact the National Addictive Damage Foundation (NADD), or a local chapter of NADD if you live in the U.S., for more information. They also offer free treatment and a webinar you can access at any time.
  • Another option is a consultation with a licensed clinical social worker. The social worker can help you determine whether you are at risk for developing a gambling addiction, and how to prevent it.
  • Finally, consider talking to your partner about your gambling habits. Gambling addiction is a problem that affects partners equally, so if you’re in a relationship, consider talking to your partner about how much money you’re spending and for what purpose. Many people find that a partner can better understand the addiction than someone who isn’t in the situation.

How to Quit Gambling

Quitting is very difficult, but it is possible to overcome the addiction. Here are some useful tips on how to quit gambling once and for all: Know that you’re on the right track. There’s no shame in admitting you have a problem and that you are trying to fix it. Once you’ve come to terms with your addiction and have decided to get help, the next step is to implement these four steps:

  • Admit you have a problem to yourself and to your loved ones.
  • Look for signs and symptoms of gambling addiction and identify whether or not you are ready for treatment.
  • Take concrete steps towards treatment and recovery, including identifying specific goals that can help you move towards your goal of stopping gambling for good.
  • Follow your treatment program and establish a plan for ongoing treatment to prevent relapse.

How Do I Quit Gambling for Good?

Ultimately, the only way to successfully quit gambling for good is to face your fears. You’ll be scared at first, but you’ll start to see that it’s not so bad once you start looking at it realistically. You’ll soon find that, while you’re gambling, you’ll be thinking about other things, and won’t spend the bulk of your time thinking about what you’re doing. By clearing your mind of thoughts of gambling, you’ll find you’ll be able to focus more on the excitement of playing the game itself.

Fear is the biggest barrier to ending the gambling addiction. By facing your fears, you’ll be able to break the cycle. If you’re concerned that your loved ones will view it as a character flaw or you’ll be stigmatized, try to keep that fear in perspective. While you may feel ashamed of your addiction, people tend to be much more supportive of you if they see you actively fighting to stop, not just allowing yourself to play when you’re bored.

Staying away from the casino is a good starting point for anyone looking to avoid gambling altogether. There are a variety of ways to keep yourself off the gambling tables and stay on the right path towards sobriety. If you’re ever in doubt, simply walk away – you might just find it’s the best move you ever made. It ’s up to you.


The reason that gambling addiction occurs is because it’s so easy and cheap. In addition to the rewards of a fun game, online gambling can be just as addictive as in person. And people can gamble for an unlimited amount of time. It ’s not even necessary to visit a casino to find a gambling addiction. If you suspect you may be an addiction gambler, your first step is to take some steps towards treating it.  Just quit gambling if you ’re ready to quit for good. Quitting is best . Don ’ t keep on playing.

  • There are so many ways to become addicted to gambling. What do all the stages of gambling addiction look like?
  • Does a person with a gambling addiction lose the money they spent, and then spend more money gambling again?
  • Will a gambler become “stuck” in a loop, spending the money but going without the excitement of success?
  • Do the compulsive gambler have any other drug or alcohol addictions?

If you think you might have a gambling addiction, the NADD offers help for free. If you’re not sure if you have a gambling addiction, ask your primary care provider or seek a referral to a medical specialist who specializes in mental health. Treatment for addiction is available. If you find yourself repeatedly turning to gambling and aren’t sure how to stop, visit these blogs for more information.

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