What Compulsive Gambling and Substance Abuse Have in Common

Compulsive Gambling and Substance AbuseDid you know that more than 70 percent of those with a gambling disorder also have an alcohol problem – and nearly 40 percent have a drug abuse problem? Perhaps, it’s not too surprising that gambling addicts are often struggling with substance abuse as well.

After all, a gambling addiction can certainly reinforce a drug or alcohol addiction. Many gamblers drink to loosen up before betting, or turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb the feelings of remorse caused by losing large sums of money.

What’s more, pathological gamblers and drug addicts share many of the same genetic predispositions for impulsivity and reward seeking. A few studies show that some people are especially vulnerable to both types of addiction because their reward circuitry is inherently under active — which may partly explain their thrill-seeking behavior.

Here are a few more characteristics of both compulsive gambling and a substance use disorder:

  • Increasing preoccupation with the “drug” of choice
  • Tolerance, or needing more in order to achieve the desired excitement
  • Using the substance or behavior to escape problems or mask emotions or mood disorders
  • Concealing the extend of the addiction to family, friends and therapists
  • Failing several times to scale back or stop altogether
  • Jeopardizing relationships with family, intimates, and peers
  • Inability to maintain responsibilities at work, at school or in the home
  • Incapacity to properly assess the risks and rewards of a given situation

Getting Help for Compulsive Gambling
It’s nearly impossible to stop a gambling addiction on your own. And, yet, a mere 7 to 12 percent of compulsive gamblers will ever seek help, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Don’t wait to seek treatment. Start by taking our gambling addiction self-assessment – and answer the questions as truthfully as you can. To learn more about our compulsive gambling treatment, call today: 888-267-8070.

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