Chart of a Gambling Disorder and Recovery


Arrow  down (read this column down first, and then read right column up)   Arrow  up (cell below was final phase of chart - read left column first)

Winning Phase

  • Occasional gambling
  • Excitement
  • Fantasies about winning
  • Increased amounts bet
  • Big win

Growth Phase

  • New way of life
  • Facing problems promptly
  • Giving affection to others
  • Preoccupation with gambling decreases
  • Insight into self
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Losing Phase

  • Can't stop gambling
  • Preoccupied with gambling
  • Losing time from work
  • Personality changes
  • Heavy borrowing
  • Careless about spouse/family
  • Covering up/lying
  • Bailouts

Rebuilding Phase

  • Develop goals
  • Self-respect returning
  • Improved spouse & family relationships
  • New interests
  • Paying bills/budget
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Desperation Phase

  • Alienation from family & friends
  • Marked increase in amount and time spent gambling
  • Illegal acts
  • Panic
  • Remorse

Critical Phase

  • Responsible thinking
  • Decision making
  • Hopeful
  • Realistic, stops gambling
  • Honest desire for help
Arrow  down (to bottom of chart - after cell below, read the right column up)   Arrow  up (start of right column - read up)

Hopelessness Phase

  • Suicide thoughts & attempts
  • Arrests
  • Divorce
  • Alcohol
  • Emotional breakdowns
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Adapted from Robert L. Custer, M.D., National Council on Problem Gambling.