Most doctors believe that the development of gambling goes through the following stages.
During this period, a person becomes susceptible to the attraction to gambling. That is, the attraction itself does not yet arise, but there is a susceptibility to such an attraction, which is formed due to the following psychological personality traits low self-esteem, intolerance for refusals, intolerance for criticism or disapproval of actions, impulsiveness, increased anxiety, deep depression, intolerance for disappointment with the need for immediate elimination due to satisfaction, a sense of one’s own power, a tendency to irrational, mystical thinking, a high degree of activity, a desire to act actively, an excited state of mind, a tendency to risky actions. The appearance of the above personality traits leads to the fact that a person becomes highly susceptible to the attraction to gambling. If, against such a psychological background, a person starts gambling, then the risk of becoming a gambler is very high.
Personality traits, against the background of which there is a susceptibility to the attraction to gambling, usually appear when being in an environment where material values are extolled and there is no normal human attention to each other.
At this stage, a person begins to play and, thanks to the susceptibility to the attraction to gambling, gets involved in the game, literally “sticks” to it with his soul. A person has faith in his own success, based on frequent wins, both small and large. In addition, the gains, which so far exceed the losses, form a sense of one’s own power, the illusion of controlling oneself and the world, and also contribute to the development of an excessive sense of one’s own importance. At this stage, a person is literally absorbed in the game, he does not see the minuses and dangers that constant participation in games brings with him, but revels only in false feelings of his own importance, power and success, given by winnings.
At this stage, a person completely goes into the game, which becomes the center of his life interests, everything else (family, work, etc.) seems not so important. A pathological vicious circle appears. Start a game lose get into debt hide for a while start playing again, hoping to win back, etc. The vicious circle is constantly repeated, and as the disease progresses, the game lose cycles are repeated more and
More often. That is, if at the beginning of this stage a person plays, for example, once a month, then after a while he starts playing once every three weeks, then once a week, etc. The gambler begins to constantly lie to others, trying to hide his true position, completely ceases to fulfill family, work and social responsibilities. Increasing personality change. At the stage of losing, a person realizes his illness, and painfully tries to control the attraction to the game by willpower trying to stop playing but this does not work.
Stage of disappointment and despair
At this stage, there is a complete collapse of a person’s life due to his constant game, debts, unstable emotional state, lies. The gambler divorces his wife or breaks ties with close people (brothers, sisters, parents), friends, without contacting them, completely withdraws into himself. Often a person at the stage of disappointment and despair begins to drink alcohol, he has a feeling of hopelessness and frequent emotional breakdowns. Often debts lead to arrests. All the gambler’s personal time is focused on the game, participating in which a person tries to constantly and inadequately increase the stakes, often going all-in with the hope of fully recouping and, thereby, completely getting rid of his problems.
Stage of hopelessness
At this stage, a person even loses hope of winning, but still continues to play completely without any purpose, just for the sake of participating in the very process of the game.
The development of the disease takes an average of 3 years. At each stage, certain mental changes occur. In the beginning, the gambler is no different from a healthy person, then he becomes impulsive and prone to obsessive thoughts. This leads to persistent mental disorders. The lack of complete self-control and the violation of self-criticism contributes to the disintegration of the personality. The loss of spiritual values leads to the formation of anger, oppression of positive emotional states, the patient becomes cold and indifferent to the suffering of loved ones and social problems.
Treatment of gambling addiction
If severe gambling is diagnosed, addiction treatment will necessarily include medications.
If initial gambling is diagnosed, it is quite possible to treat addiction without medication, only with the help of psychotherapy.
Note that the treatment process is long and requires full commitment not only from the therapist, but also from the patient. The most important thing in treatment is the desire of the patient himself to overcome the pernicious passion. If there is no voluntary consent, nothing will come of it even with the use of the latest methods. At the same time, co-dependent patients are also treated – wife, husband, and relatives.