Pathological gambling


Pathological gambling is a disorder characterized by poor impulse control that manifests itself in maladaptive and recurrent gambling behaviors. These people experience a progressive inability to resist the urge to gamble, so that gambling significantly disrupts their personal, family, financial, occupational and social functioning.

For the person with pathological gambling, any game that involves risk-taking and reward is potentially addictive. For this reason, general categories of gambling include card games, lottery, sports betting, bingo, etc. Excessive gamblers usually place their bets in casinos, but it is also common to do so via the Internet.

Studies show that pathological gambling follows a consistent pattern. Gambling usually begins in adolescence, but can start at any age, from the first bets to total loss of control.



Profit phase: The person still plays very little. It is not uncommon to win a prize. They begin to place a high value on winning and minimize losses. This increases their optimism and selfesteem. This phase can last from several months to several years.

Losing phase: Given the optimism that characterizes the gambler in the previous winning phase, in order to obtain larger prizes, he/she risks more and more, gradually increasing the frequency and amount of money invested in gambling, which in turn increases the losses.

Once the person has become a habitual gambler, the most important factor in becoming a pathological gambler is easy access to loans. When debts have exploded and the possibilities of getting the money he/she needs are reduced, the gambler sees gambling as the only option to get money to pay off these debts. They no longer gamble to earn money but to win back what they have lost.

The consequences are loans, wages spent on gambling, petty theft or scams, damaged family and work relationships. It is in this situation that the gambler is forced to discover or admit his problem to his family, friends, bank… and decides, or even promises, to stop gambling. This only lasts for a while, because as soon as they have money, they start gambling again.

Desperation phase: Gambling reaches a high intensity, the only way to live is to gamble. The person abandons family, friends and work. They enter a negative cycle in which they take more risks and get involved in more financial and legal problems (bad cheques, etc.). There is also a deterioration in self-care (sleep problems, etc.). All of this leads to a state of panic in the gambler due to huge debts, the desire to pay back the money quickly, alienation from family, resulting in break-ups, divorces and loss of friendships, negative reputation, etc.



The earlier the intervention, the greater the guarantee of a good result. The treatment begins with the initial evaluation, which allows us to assess the intensity of the problem and to adapt the therapeutic intervention to the needs of the patient.

At “INICIA” ADDICTIONS TREATMENT we work with a motivational orientation, offering an individualized process that allows us to design the treatment according to the needs of each patient and with their active participation.

Generally speaking, treatment begins with a period of detoxification, which helps to control the gambling compulsion. This initial phase is followed by a rehabilitation process in which the patient’s initial goal is to overcome his or her psychological addiction and lead a satisfying life free of gambling addiction.

Psychological support is helpful in this process, often supplemented by supportive medical treatment.

If necessary, we can arrange for detoxification treatment to begin in an in-patient facility.

If you think a family member or loved one is addicted, the most urgent thing to do is to get a professional diagnosis where advice is given on the type of treatment the patient should undergo. A personalized follow-up with high therapeutic intensity is always provided.

At “INICIA” ADDICTIONS TREATMENT, we will recommend the most appropriate solution in each case and advise the family and the patient on how to proceed.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of professionals offers advice on the most effective way to address the problem at hand and to promote healthy habits that will help the patient make a full recovery.

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