The Cycles of Gambling Addiction

The Cycles of Gambling AddictionNothing beats winning. That message is ingrained into our minds from early childhood. We want to win, whether in little league baseball or a spelling bee. As we get older, we’re told that a competitive edge is a good thing. It helps us get ahead at work and achieve everything we want out of life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving to be good at what we do whether that’s with our job, raising our family or even on the weekend bowling league. However, there is a dark side to a competitive edge when it takes a turn into the form of a serious gambling addiction.

Four Cycles of Gambling Addiction

Many therapists trained in dealing with gambling addiction effects recognize the downward cycles that can trap a person. Understanding the cycles of gambling addiction can go a long way towards recovery. These are the four cycles which every gambling addict goes through:

1.  The Winning Cycle

A serious gambling addiction begins with becoming hooked on the winning cycle. This could start out simply enough with some recreational gambling fun like a monthly low stakes poker game or a vacation to a gambling hot spot like Las Vegas. Most people who indulge in gambling actually play within their means. It’s when a big win occurs that something is triggered in the mind of the compulsive gambler. Suddenly, that big win becomes all they can think about. They need to relive that story and brag about the accomplishment. Often, gamblers in this cycle think that they now possess “the golden touch.” The goal is to put that “touch” into action with more betting, more playing and more risk. That’s the only way to recapture that winning high.

2.  The Losing Cycle

For every single win, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of loses. With the compulsive gambler, the losing cycle is sure to hit at some point. This is when those feelings of euphoria from the winning cycle begin to fade. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop a person with a gambling addiction. Instead they literally double-down to chase that winning high. As the losing continues, the goal then shifts not to winning so much as to make back what they’ve lost. This is when the gambler begins to borrow money from friends and family to feed the habit. It’s also when the lies begin about just how much has actually been lost.

3.  The Desperation Cycle

The first clear indication that a compulsive gambler has hit the desperation cycle of their addiction is when they begin to withdraw. Coupled with cutting themselves off from friends and family, they will lash out against those very same people. This is because of compounded feelings of guilt. The desperation cycle is also when many gambling addicts turn to forms of theft or fraud to pay bills and fund more gambling.

4.  The Hopeless Cycle

The hopeless cycle is the rock-bottom. This is when the gambling and personal loses have become so huge that the sufferer thinks there is no way out. There could be additional outside influences that trigger this cycle like getting arrested or being kicked out of home. Sadly, this is also the time when sufferers turn to suicide as a means of escape. Perhaps this doesn’t always manifest itself as a serious attempt, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking these dark thoughts.

Escape the Cycles of Gambling Addiction

The truth about getting help with a gambling addiction treatment center is that you don’t have to wait until you’ve gone through all four cycles. You or someone you care about can seek professional help at any time that gambling has become a problem. The toll-free number on this page can help you break those cycles and get you back on track with your life.