The Gambler's Sickness

As a person plays a game reliant partly on chance in exchange for rewards; he feels compelled to win. The amount of pleasure he receives from placing a wager gives him thrills which is often increased upon winning in a gambling game, be it in card games, horse races, slot machines and many more! Yet one must be able to distinctly identify whether a person is playing either socially, or whether his gambling activities have become increasingly addictive that it takes control of his life, therefore, affecting the lives of those people who are close to him. This is the Gambler's Sickness. It is a form of progressive and chronic mental illness that is usually known as Pathological Gambling.

This form of mental disease, according to Doctor Robert L. Custer, one of the leading psychiatrists in mental health who was also a leading pioneer in the establishment of the National Council on Compulsive Gambling, takes into account a certain progression of the addiction of an individual to gambling. Three phases would be involved in such a progression. This would include the first step which we can call the "winning phase"; the second step, or the "losing phase; and lastly, the third step which is known as the "desperation phase."

In the winning phase, the individual gambler would experience a win or series of wins that would leave him with high optimism that is usually considered unreasonable. These gamblers will start to believe that they will just keep on winning, and that luck is possibly on their side. The individual will feel thrilled and excited, and have a sense of blood rush as he dangerously wagers even higher stakes.

This is where the losing phase eventually comes in. Have you ever noticed how frequent gamblers would brag about the wins that they've incurred, but never really tell you about their losses? A lot of them would begin to lie to their partners or members of family and friends, as they fall into the trap of the gambling addiction, borrowing money, and behaving as though they are alone and unhappy. They realize upon their losses that they are then unable to pay their debts by normal means, and so, they try to take more chances by trying to win back what they have lost.

And now comes the desperation phase! It is during this stage that the gambler would spend more and more of his time gambling as he tries desperately to gain back what he has lost in the previous games. His relationship with those who are close to him is strained and affected by the way that he would tend to alienate himself from those nearest to him. Oftentimes, these poor individuals would subscribe to illegal ways of trying to earn back their money or pay back their bills, as they succumb to feelings of hopeless and turn suicidal.

Such a mental disorder is quite tragic yet all is not lost as mental disorders such as these can be treated with the help of compulsive gambling therapy. Upon the diagnosis of such a disease, it is always helpful when the families and people close to the problem individual is given enough care and support.

Last Updated2008-10-30
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