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The Cycle of Addiction

There are many different ways in which addictions are viewed depending on which organisation you ask!  Gambling Therapy subscribe to the view that a gambling addiction is a learnt behaviour.  The behaviour could have been learnt from another individual, or self-taught, but it does not spontaneously appear in the way that an illness would.  A learnt behaviour can be unlearnt and a new behaviour can be learnt in its place. Once an awareness of the addiction arises, a decision can be made by the conscious mind to bring about a new method of coping. 

There are six stages within the addiction, which do not necessarily manifest in a linear way, and they are as follows: 


  • Pre-contemplative – The problem is not identified and there is no motivation for change
  • Contemplative – Thoughts arise as to whether change is required or possible
  • Determination – A decision is made that change is required and possible and plans are made with regards to how this is going to happen
  • Action – Plans are put into action
  • Maintenance – Barriers are put in place to ensure continued success
  • Relapse – The addiction takes hold once more and the individual re-enters the pre-contemplative stage


Not all compulsive gamblers will go through every stage and they may not enter them in this particular order however, what is consistent within recovery is the power of conscious decision making.  In order to effect change the addiction has to move out of the subconscious and into the conscious mind where a decision can be made whilst “in awareness”.

This is the belief of Gambling Therapy and does not necessarily represent the personal views of all staff, volunteers and members.

Gambling Therapy treatment of gambling addiction