The Cycle Of Problem Gambling
There is a well known and recognisable cycle/pattern found in problem gambling. People with a gambling problem usually experience the things that are outlined in the cycle.
The gambling cycle will continue until some significant commitment to change occurs.
Desire to Escape Emotional Crisis
To escape from painful emotional states. Example: resentment, anger, stress, anxiety, boredom, depression, loneliness, self-pity, or any other uncomfortable feeling.
To escape to a change of mood (though short lived - esp. with scratch tickets), to a world of your own, where you can withdraw into yourself. To numb-out and time-out, to fantasise, or whatever a person wants out of gambling.
Problem gamblers have chosen to use gambling as a coping strategy - as a way of dealing with unpleasant emotional states.
Desire for Quick Money
Hopes and beliefs in 'winning' / of getting quick money - a quick fix.
The desire to gamble as a way to solve financial problems: 'A big win, now, will solve all my problems'. This is relying on false hope:
To improve one's worth. To prove one's worth.
Paying attention only to past wins and not considering the losses or possible negative consequences. Past wins reinforce the idea that to play means reward - not problems.
Leads to breaking your own standards and values - (denial, lying, cheating, swindling, etc).
Large wins may be used to pay debts, so as to free up credit for future gambling - to stay in the game.
The more times you gamble the less you value the wins or the money. Money loses its personal value over time. This can lead a person to care less about losing in the future: 'It's only free money, it does not matter if I lose it'.
Problem gamblers risk their wins by further gambling:
'If I've won this much I can win more'
'What I have won is not enough, I must try to win more'
'I feel better now, in fact I will play some more'
Chasing the Loss
When losing, feelings of panic and despair can drive a person to chase what has been lost.
Not accepting losses: thinking that, if you continue, you will get your money back. It is the desire to get back what you risked to lose in the first place.
Not able to stop gambling without resenting it - feeling that it's unfair for some reason.
Believing that after losing so much money, surely a win is close at hand. Here a person is trying to make winning more real.
Feeling entitled to a win, can lead to plea-bargaining with 'fate'/Lady luck/others for extended credit/time.
Gambling until the loss has put you into unbearable debt.
Gambling until you lose all your money.
Since gambling created the loss in the first place, further gambling will create more loss.
Can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.
Can lead you to feel even worse than you did before you gambled.
Being in further debt.
Financial threats: Legal action, Loss of home and/or property, No food, No rent money, Debt collectors, etc.
Financial crisis always carries with it some form of emotional crisis.
Initial feelings of disappointment and dejection - dashed hopes, or 'as if' let down.
Great sense of remorse and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Broken promises to self and others that it will not happen again - guilt and shame.
Damage to self-esteem creates a need for a coping strategy - escaping the crisis by gambling (relapse).
Not accepting past losses. Believing that you are entitled to win more.
To give - in the hope of getting more back.
Acting on the hope that you are due for a bigger win.
Apprehension implies an immediate state of mind produced by having good grounds for fear.
Suspicion or fear, especially of future ill-bearing or evil ~ foreboding.
Decreasing enjoyment with increasing sufferance.
False Hope ~ 'My turn is near'
Pretentious ~ 'Surely I am worthy'
Dread is the intense reluctance to face a situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety.
Disappointment and despair.
Suffering the confirmed fear of ill-bearing or evil. Becoming fearful of immediate future.
'I can't bear the idea that I'm going to lose the lot'
'I dread the outcome if I don't win'
'How could I have let myself lose so much'?
'I stuffed-up again - I'm a hopeless gambler'