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Do you only think about playing? Are the only worries you have in your life to get money to keep gambling or gambling? Are you seeing how the game is more important than your family, work or relationships with friends? You have a gambling problem! In today’s article we talk about how a person becomes a gambler and how to quit gambling addiction.

What is being a gambler?

Gambling is one of the most common behavioral addictions. The person who suffers from it experiences a loss of control over the behavior – he cannot stop gambling – and when he cannot continue playing he does not stop thinking about it, which makes it terribly difficult for him to concentrate on work or enjoy other activities. As in other addictions, a psychological dependence is generated that leads the person to invest more and more time and money in this activity.

Gambling behavior appears in the subject in a frequent, uncontrolled and maladaptive way, interfering in their social, work and family life and causing serious psychological problems.

Characteristics of the gambler

Since online gambling was regulated in 2012, it has not stopped growing. This has caused the profile of the people who are cared for in addiction centers to change. If a decade ago the average age of those seeking medical help was between 28 and 35, now it is between 18 and 25; which means that many have become addicted while underage. As in all addictions, compulsive gambling affects men more frequently. However, in recent years the percentage of women with this disease has increased.

In boys, the disorder usually begins in adolescence, and they prefer sports betting and casino games. In women it appears between 20 and 40 years old and they opt for bingo and, in some cases, arcade machines.
There is a family history of gambling. It is possible that the family approves the game in any of its variants.
Basic mood disorder.
Existence of a personality disorder related to impulse control such as borderline personality disorder.
Substance use and / or gambling at an early age. Substance use disorder often occurs in the gambling person.
Existence of certain personality traits such as the search for sensations, competitiveness or the tendency to boredom.
Low tolerance for stress and frustration, which makes the gambling problem worse.

How I became a gambler

A person does not become a pathological gamer overnight, but goes through a series of phases before realizing the problem. In the pre-contemplation phase, the player enjoys playing and does not listen to the advice of others, who begin to realize their problems with the game.

The next stage, that of contemplation, the person begins to be aware of their problems with gambling and begins to consider possible ways to seek help.

Finally, in the preparation for action phase, problems related to gambling cover all areas of a person’s life. There have been attempts to stop playing, but they have not worked. The player then considers asking for professional help. When the person with gambling problems decides to seek professional help, they go on to the action phase, in which abstinence from gambling is achieved.

Several consecutive phases can be observed in the pathological or gambling gambler:

1.- Gain phase:

At the beginning, the player goes through a period of luck where there are frequent episodes of profit. This leads to increased excitement about the game and increases the frequency of the behaviour.

2.- Loss phase:
An excessively optimistic attitude in the gambler, which is characteristic of the person with gambling, leads him to increase the amount of money he uses to gamble. This leads to a great loss of money, difficult for the player to tolerate, which leads him to gamble with the purpose of recovering what was lost.

3.- Despair phase:
In this phase, the person has generated a large debt that makes him eager to return the money. The suffering produced by family alienation appears, a negative reputation is generated in the community and the player feels an irrepressible desire to recover the positive feelings of the moments of profit.

As debts accumulate, those affected may resort to desperate “solutions” to find money to “recover” through gambling, such as petty theft, or ask for new loans to cover the most difficult debts to hide. The existence of the criminal act depends on the facilitating circumstances of the means to commit it and the pattern of behavioral regulation that is at the base.

Consequences of being a gambler
1.- Emotional problems

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