When was the last time you gambled? Did you do it for pure entertainment purposes or were you unable to resist impulses to gamble? Pathological gambling is a growing problem within our country. It is possible for someone to gamble occasionally, or even often, without it becoming an addiction. There are many things in today's society that can cause addiction. Some of those include cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. I believe pathological gambling belongs in that group. A gambler that goes beyond the usual bounds of gambling for fun, recreation, or entertainment usually experiences three phases of pathological gambling. This is what causes someone to get more and more involved and gambling and drives him or her further and further into debt. The phases are the adventurous or winning phase, the losing phase, and the desperation phase. These are what cause the addiction to gambling to grow stronger every time you gamble. Just as nicotine causes a smoker to become addicted, the thrill of the possibility of winning a lot of money makes gambling just as addictive.
The stage or phase that really causes people to gamble more is the winning phase. This is marked by an increasing desire for gambling as excitement, not entertainment. Gamblers often experience a series of wins or a big win that leaves them confident that they will continue to win. The sense of optimism that is gained with winning causes problem gamblers to increase the amounts of their bets. This leads them into phase two of pathological gambling.
During the losing phase, gamblers often brag to others about the wins they have had. They also begin to spend more time away from their family and friends. They start gambling alone and usually need to borrow money to try to win back their losses. Sometimes money is borrowed illegally. Gamblers in the losing phase become more stressed out, irritable, and restless. Their home life becomes more unhappy and they are unable to pay off debts.