Criticisms against other process addictions like sex addiction has found its ground in the fact that brain imaging studies don’t reveal an addiction. Sex addiction is really more like a sexual compulsive behavior. Gambling addiction, however, acts like an addiction in the brain. Beyond mere impulse or obsession and compulsion, gambling interferes with the brain’s reward system, creates tolerance, and acts in many similar ways. For example, when people quit gambling for a period of time, their “sobriety”, they experience adverse stress through their emotions and negative thinking. Similar to alcohol, gambling has become the source of their brain’s ability to produce happiness. As a result, many succumb to relapse with gambling as they give into obsessive and negative thinking. They find relief in their relapse, turning back to their process of choice to fill the brain’s need for pleasure stimulation.

gambling addiction commonly co-occuring with alcoholism

Gambling Triggers

Casinos are designed to encourage the brain to make poor decisions. There are no clocks, fresh oxygen is circulated to help the brain feel awake, and alcohol is readily available. All of the sounds of machines ringing, the bright colors, coins dropping isn’t coincidence. Everything is designed on a specific algorithm to help patrons spend more money. All of these little triggers can become devastating to a gambling addict. Like a recovering alcoholic driving past the liquor store or the bar, a gambling addict might be triggered driving past signs for a casino, a freeway exit to the race track, and more.

Gambling In The Family

Addiction and alcoholism are said to be family diseases because once someone develops and addiction, everyone is affected. The same philosophy applies to gambling addiction. Troubled relationships, lying, hiding, stealing, and most of the maladaptive behaviors of substance addiction apply to gambling addiction.

Gambling Addiction And Substance Addiction

A majority of gambling addicts have co-occurring problems with alcohol, which might be why the two issues present themselves so identically. Alcohol is available almost everywhere gambling and betting takes place. When gambling becomes severe and the stakes are high, gambling addicts turn to alcohol as a way to cope with their stress, enhancing both problems.

Gambling addiction is a problem in Canada. If you are struggling with an inability to control your gambling, help is available. Aurora Recovery Center is a dual diagnosis treatment program welcoming those who seek recovery. For information on how we can help you heal your gambling and alcohol addiction, call 844-515-STOP.


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