Many people enjoy social events that include gambling and/or drinking without ever developing a problem or an addiction. However, some people do develop an addiction to gambling or alcohol or both. And oftentimes, problem gambling can lead to substance abuse. Where there is gambling, there is usually alcohol.
A sign of gambling is when an individual has an urgent need to continue gambling, even increasing risks to chase the losses. It is considered a disorder when it severely impacts an individual’s personal life, including interpersonal relationships, professional livelihood, and finances. Gambling addiction effects are estimated to be less than 2% of individuals in the general population but can be completely debilitating to them and loved ones around them.
Most adults gamble at some point in their adult life, whether it be on the lotto, at a casino, or in relation to a sporting event. In fact, many individuals partake in that behavior before adulthood. Problem gambling does tend to develop over the course of years, making individuals who begin gambling at a younger age more susceptible to problem gambling.
When gambling begins and becomes problematic earlier in life, there is an increased likelihood that the individual will also struggle with alcoholism or another substance abuse problems. There is a strong link between problem gambling and problems with the use of drugs and alcohol. In fact, alcoholism is the most frequently reported comorbidity for those with a gambling addiction.
There are several reasons for this:
Many institutions that promote or allow gambling also serve alcohol.
Alcohol is used socially in celebration or to numb the pain of defeat, one of which individuals who gamble will feel very often.
Problem gambling is often affiliated with depression and with many people suffering from mental illness, many attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs.
Impulsive tendencies are often found in people who are addicted to both gambling and alcohol, and other substances.
There are programs that can help people suffering from problem gambling. Seeking help and continuing care is available to manage problem gambling. You are not alone. For help in NYS, visit NYProblemGamblingHELP.org.
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