How to recognize a gambler and pathological gambling

We live in an age when more and more people, especially young people, are reaching for something like gambling. The reasons for this are many, and some of them are the need for fun, the way to beat boredom, the feeling of satisfaction while gambling, running away from problems, and the hope that more money can be made. Gambling is considered the most severe behavioral addiction. In a large number of cases, this dependence begins in adolescence and younger adulthood. With the rapid spread of legalized gambling, such as casinos, lotteries, and online gambling, the problem of gambling addiction is on the rise. This addiction develops gradually, the person usually does not recognize that the problem has started. Usually, it all starts with boredom or fun. At the very beginning are bets, where a small amount of money is invested. However, when there is a “beginner’s” luck where a person begins to win more money than he has invested, there is a need to invest as much money as possible to raise earnings. After two or three consecutive winnings, there may be losses that the addict usually associates with having a bad day, being unlucky, and so on. After that it is no longer fun, earnings are spent or money is borrowed from friends and acquaintances to regain lost money. Then again comes the period of winnings and losses. The gambler is looking for other games where he can find fun and make more money.  The gambler reaches for slot machines and roulette. When the gambler starts to lose money on slot machines, he still plays in the hope that he can “beat” the machine, and when he loses on roulette, he blames the bad day. Then the losses become larger, and the amount of money input is doubled. The moment when a person thinks only about going to the casino does not pay attention to his family as before, when a person is more and more away from home, neglects tasks at work, we can say that the problem is extremely serious.

What is a pathological gambler

A compulsive or pathological gambler is someone unable to resist his impulses to gamble. This leads to serious personal and social consequences. The urge to gamble becomes so great that the tension can only be released with more and more gambling.Men are more likely to become pathological gamblers than women. Men have been observed to be more socially isolated than female gamblers. Gamblers, as well as other addicts, spend part of their time thinking about gambling, as well as its planning, and recovery from the consequences. The gambler is unable to stop thinking about gambling, and this preoccupation is obsessive.


Some of the indicators of pathological gambling are:

– preoccupation with gambling,

– the need to gamble with increasing amounts to achieve the same effects,

– unsuccessful attempts to quit gambling,

– loss of control,

– failure to reduce gambling,

– gambling is used as an escape from problems and bad mood,

– destroying relationships due to gambling.

As with other behavioral addictions, gambling is a common state of craving before the activity begins. Craving is different in intensity and quality from ordinary desire. It is close in quality to the instinctive need, and in intensity, it is stronger than any instinctive need. Gambling leads to a state of euphoria and an uplifting mood. Gambling, like other addictions, interferes with the life of an individual and certainly affects the whole family. These activities take a lot of energy and time, and the addict is less and less in contact with other people.

Gambling addiction develops gradually, and usually, the person does not even notice that the problem is already there. As smoking causes nausea, and alcohol causes headaches, there are no such signals in gambling that indicate a problem. That is why it is extremely important for a person to be aware of what he is doing and what are the consequences.

Primarily addict spends a lot of time gambling and loses a lot of money in the game. That person affects badly on other people, reduces or breaks off contact with his friends and family and neglects all other interests and responsibilities, and becomes very attached to the circle of people who gamble, feels unable to control his behavior and often loses self-esteem and develops a guilty conscience and sometimes becomes aggressive if he loses a lot of money.

Types of addicts

Research has shown that there are 3 types of gambling addicts.

Type 1

For this type, gambling is a form of entertainment. Pleasure, excitement, and sometimes victory make a person feel comfortable and happy in the game. Losses remain within acceptable limits. Some players, however, are constantly increasing their stakes so victory becomes more important.

Type 2

This type of addict borrows money for the game. The need to get the money back is extremely big, and winning  is necessary. Gambling becomes the dominant thought. There is still a firm belief that there are no problems and that everything will be fine.

Type 3

This type of addict is completely occupied by gambling. This addict realizes that the situation is getting worse, but there is nothing he can do. Those who manage to quit gambling during this period often have mental health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and eating disorders. Feelings of guilt, boredom, anxiety, or depression also occur. This type of player eventually most often seeks professional help.

There is a big difference between occasional gambling and addiction. Although some people like to gamble occasionally, a pathological gambler usually progresses from occasional gambling to regular gambling. As gambling progresses, the gambler begins to take risks both personally and financially.