Problem Gambling 101. How It Progresses and Becomes Addicting. Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and My Experiences.

Problem Gambling 101. How It Progresses and Becomes Addicting. Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and My Experiences.

If there is one thing I know, it’s about problem gambling on a personal level and how progressive this disease is, how it becomes a slow shift from being a once-in-a-while gambler to a full-blown obsessive out-of-control addicted freak! No lie here! And how it got me was having lots of time on my hands when I got off work when my husband was working out of town a lot. Being bored. And became my only fun and excitement in life at that time back in late 1996 and really ramped up all of 1997 and on.

It then progressed from there and my life wouldn’t be the same as it got UGLY for many years. All that can be read within my first book. It is the purpose of “Addicted To Dimes” and was written for.  It is the “HOW’S” of becoming a gambling addict. After two times through the gambling treatment program, two failed suicide attempts, and finally on the road maintaining recovery is when I learned some of the “ROOTS” to my addiction and at the end, before treatment, lead me to abuse alcohol because addicted gambling alone was becoming, “Not Enough.”

Being informed, educated, and knowledgable for me is important since I now advocate about this disease that cost me way more than money wasted. I tell my sponsees it almost took my life. Does that sound like gambling is just about FUN, Games, and Entertainment? Not to those who become addicted. So, courtesy of Wikipedia and “Gamblers Anonymous Site” — but in order for those to understand who have NO experience of or have not been “touched” by any addiction? …

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is when the body or mind badly wants or needs something in order to work right. When you suffer addiction to something it is called being addicted or being an addict. People can be addicted to drugs, gambling, smoking, alcohol, coffee, and many other things.

When somebody is addicted to something, they can become sick if they do not get the thing they are addicted to. But taking more of the thing they are addicted to can also hurt their health. Some people who are addicts need to go to a doctor, hospital, or treatment to cure the addiction, so they no longer crave (want or need) …

What Is Problem Gambling or Addicted Gambling?

Problem gambling
 is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs.


Other Names Ludomania, gambling addiction, compulsive gambling


A DSM-5 has re-classified the condition as an addictive disorder, with sufferers exhibiting many similarities to those who have substance addictions. The term gambling addiction has long been used in the recovery movement.[1] Pathological gambling was long considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be an impulse control disorder rather than an addiction.

However, data suggest a closer relationship between pathological gambling and substance use disorders than exists between PG and obsessive-compulsive disorder, largely because the behaviors in problem gambling and most primary substance use disorders (i.e. those not resulting from a desire to “self-medication” for another condition such as depression) seek to activate the brain’s reward mechanisms while the behaviors characterizing obsessive-compulsive disorder are prompted by overactive and misplaced signals from the brain’s fear mechanisms.

Problem gambling is an addictive behavior with a high comorbidity with alcohol problems. A common feature shared by people who suffer from gambling addiction is impulsivity. (Mine so happened to be for Escaping or Coping with old childhood trauma).

Signs and symptoms

In order to be diagnosed, an individual must have at least four of the following symptoms in a 12-month period:

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

ALL of the above from my past addiction I experienced and got even MORE SEVERE! Did I use household money to gamble? YES. Did I gamble my paycheck in a few hours? YES. Did I steal and lie to get money to gamble? YES…AND MORE. It is a cunning sick addiction and disease. THEN CAME? Suicide attempts!

Threats Sobriety 1 (1)
Suicide Rates

The gambler who does not receive treatment for pathological gambling when in his or her desperation phase may contemplate SUICIDE. Problem gambling is often associated with increased Suicidal Ideation and attempts compared to the general population. 1 in 5 will try suicide. Early onset of problem gambling increases the lifetime risk of suicide. However, gambling-related suicide attempts are usually made by older people with problem gambling.

A 2010 Australian hospital study found that 17% of suicidal patients admitted to the Alfred Hospital’s emergency department were problem gamblers. In the United States, a report by the National Council on Problem Gambling showed approximately one in five pathological gamblers attempt suicide. The council also said that suicide rates among pathological gamblers were higher than any other addictive disorder.

2.6% of people living in the United States are now problem gamblers. According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, evidence indicates that pathological gambling is an addiction similar to chemical addiction. Studies have compared pathological gamblers to substance addicts, concluding that addicted gamblers display more physical symptoms during withdrawal. A myth needing known. Addicted gamblers DO go through a Detox and Withdrawal period. Deficiencies in serotonin might also contribute to compulsive behavior, including a gambling addiction.

Lastly, the Pathological Part of this ADDICTION:
Several psychological mechanisms are thought to be implicated in the development and maintenance of problem gambling. First, reward processing seems to be less sensitive to problem gamblers. Second, some individuals use problem gambling as an escape from the problems in their lives. Third, personality factors play a role, such as narcissism, risk-seeking, sensation-seeking, and impulsivity.

Fourth, problem gamblers suffer from a number of cognitive biases, including the illusion of control, unrealistic optimism, overconfidence and the gambler’s fallacy, which is (the incorrect belief that a series of random events tends to self-correct so that the absolute frequencies of each of various outcomes balance each other out).

Fifth, problem gamblers represent a chronic state of a behavioral spin process, a gambling spin, as described by the criminal spin theory. If you want more in-depth information about gambling addiction there is much more on Wikipedia here about problem and addicted gambling.


4 thoughts on “Problem Gambling 101. How It Progresses and Becomes Addicting. Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and My Experiences.

  1. Yes Mam, I live on the Mississippi Gulfcoast and have only worked in one casino, however, I could see the lengths some people would go through just to keep gambling. I saw the same faces day by day winning huge and I’d say, “Go home with that.” Then an hour later they lost it all. One evening in particular, I was working the high roller section as a cashier and a couple comes towards the counter and I can see that the lady is so upset she’s almost in tears. She’s clearly afraid of her spouse whose harshly whispering to her to give him her credit card and sign for the money for him to gamble on. I was hoping she would ask for help but she gave in and they took out $3,000 dollars. I told my co-workers what I saw and to my surprise they said thats normal, they come in all the time and he always bullies her into giving him money. I never forget that, it’s example of an addict and an addicts enabler. It showed me the lengths of that addiction and opened my eyes to other types. I couldn’t understand gambling addiction before then because my addiction was caused by fear of withdrawal, being really sick for days, and so working at the casino showed me that it doesn’t have to be an illegal substance or even something that makes you ill if you don’t take it and We need others to spread the word, educate our youth and offer understanding and support. Thanks so much for your support and for following me on Twitter. I do write a lot about addiction because it’s personal to me and I don’t want people to say we didn’t warn you, because no one warned me. Mine was before the whole opiate addiction crisis so I honestly didn’t know. I feel if I did know, I most likely would have made better choices. I appreciate any support, advice or educational information you want to give me and I look forward to reading your work more in the future. I also am excited to learn more from you and to battle addiction together, no matter the type. Thanks for your time and consideration,

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are most Welcome and anytime I can help or if you see a POST you’d like to ReBlog on your site? You my full permission to do so.
      The more people we can reach and educate and inform the better and let’s them know there is NO SHAME in reaching out for HELP for Problem Gambling. Just as the lady you spoke of?
      It is time for Casinos, States that offer Lottery Games, and such? They need to take sone of the ACCOUNTABILITY and cut people OFF like they DO with an Alcoholic …. When they SEE someone “Out of Control” like that!!
      Believe Me, I have seen it and have “Wicked Stories” I could share of the stuff I have seen! OUR YOUTH and also Our Seniors are being targeted right now … So I continue to Advocate Out Loud and work on REAL CHANGE with legislators as well. Too Much Expansion and too many “LEGAL” forms of gambling are being added and WE ARE SMART …Profits are being MADE from those who go ALL THE TIME and may be problem gamblers. NOT JUST A Once in a While Player…We Do The MATH!
      Thank you for helping!
      Catherine *Cat*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, I’m an addict in recovery and I know very well the destruction gambling, a non substance addiction, can cause a person and their families. I was wondering ig you would follow my blog and I follow yours and hopefully we can reach more people that way and educate our younger generations? I’d love to have you a follower on I’m also looking into different types of therapy for addiction besides just meetings with strangers or in my case, therapist visits. I want to look outside the box for different ways to cope and heal. If you know of any please share. Thanks so much for your time and consideration
    Amy B.

    Liked by 1 person

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