In terms of physical attributes, a gamblers brain contains a higher level of chemical known as norepinephrine than a normal individual, due to excreted stress and excitement to win the game. Signs and Symptoms To determine the extent of gambling addiction, the American Psychological Association reported different diagnostic criteria (Lieberman, L. 2003). These include the individuals preoccupation with gambling, one good example is a gambler who keeps on reliving his past gambling experiences and planning for his next gambling venture while thinking of ways on how and where to get money as gambling capital.
Tolerance is a gambling addiction criterion in which a gambler needs a greater amount of money to achieve his desired excitement in gambling. Being restless and irritable is a withdrawal symptom when a gambler attempts to cut down his desire to gamble. Escaping from the feeling of helplessness, depression and guilt is a gamblers escape from problems and to relieve his dysphoric mood. A classical behavior of pathological gamblers include frequent returns to gambling places in order to chase losses.
Lying from family members and other people is a symptom that a gambler is concealing his over-involvement with gambling. Illegal acts like fraud, theft and forgery are signs that a gambler is searching for more finances for his gambling addiction. There is a possibility of risking some significant relationships for a gambler to suffice his gambling addiction including his job, career or other growth opportunities (Eadington, W. 2002). There are bailout circumstances wherein a gambler would rely on other people to provide financial assistance for his desperate situation due to gambling.
The repeated loss of control to stop gambling is another symptom that an individual is a pathological gambler. Phases of Gambling Addiction Gambling addiction has three phases of progressive cycle such as winning phase, losing phase and the desperation phase. The pattern of gambling addictive behavior is a progressive and downward cycle that may lead to depression and later on suicide attempt. The winning phase is the time that gamblers experience a series of wins and became optimistic that the streak will continue. The feeling of great excitement will lead the gambler to increase the amount of his bets.
The losing phase is the period that a gambler experiences losses and the time that he will reminisce his past wins and will start gambling alone, think more on gambling and start borrowing money even with high interest to continue his gambling. The losing phase is the time that gamblers start lying to family and friends, the home life becomes unhappy and restless. Chasing the gamblers losses to win back their losses is a critical point on gambling addiction. Desperation is characterized by increase in the time spent to gamble, alienate family and friends with remorseful feelings.
Gamblers may even resort to illegal acts to finance his gambling addiction. This is the period that a gambler experiences hopelessness, separation and divorce, get inclined to drug addiction, alcoholism and eventually suicidal tendencies. The third and final phase of gambling addiction is the hopelessness phase characterized by emotional breakdown and cannot think and see a way to be out of their gambling predicament. Most gamblers upon reaching the hopelessness phase or the bottom line of their gambling addiction will consider suicide as the only solution to their problem.