Whether it takes the shape of full casino or Internet gambling, or the compulsive buying of lottery tickets, individuals with gambling addictions are unable to control their finances and helplessly funnel them into gambling. For gambling addicts, gambling is either an escape (escape gambling), an adrenaline rush (action gambling), or both.
Three phases of gambling addiction are the winning phase, the losing phase, and the desperation phase. In this final phase, the addict hits rock bottom and suicide becomes a genuine risk. When desperation hits, the gambler is likely to experience extreme hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, crumbled relationships, marital failure, moral decay (i.e., committing criminal acts or indulging in sexual impropriety that he or she otherwise would not engage in), or emotional breakdown. Symptoms of this addiction include lying, committing crimes to finance gambling, “chasing” (the need to get even with the casino), relationship difficulties, lower job performance or loss of job, and a preoccupation with gambling.