Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Get Help for Substance Abuse and Gambling Addiction at Icarus

The insidious, intertwined nature of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and pathological gambling. Gambling and alcohol addiction do not always exist as one addiction; they frequently present as two addictions – or more! Alcohol problems and gambling addiction often spin together into a complex web of addictions.

The allure of casinos is a prime example of this interplay. Casino floors are designed with a singular purpose – their sole goal is to captivate the customers and keep them playing (and spending). From the glamourous atmosphere to the continuous flow of alcohol consumed to the seductive sounds of dinging game machines, they create an all-too-irresistible setting.

For some people, the atmosphere leads to issues like gambling addiction and alcohol use disorders. From there, it can whirl into a cycle of increasing behavioral addictions and many other negative consequences. One addiction turns into two addictions – and either can ruin lives and families.

Does this sound eerily familiar to you? Not to worry – our team of experts is here to help untangle that web. Icarus Behavioral Health Nevada leads the way in healing not only substance abuse and gambling problems but also other co-occurring disorders.

Do you or a loved one struggle with a gambling disorder and need drug or alcohol addiction treatment? Keep reading to learn more about gambling and alcohol addiction and what to expect from our acclaimed treatment programs at Icarus!

What Is a Gambling Addiction?

What Is a Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is also called pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, or gambling disorder – they all mean the same thing. It is a diagnosed impulse control disorder. It can have terrible impacts on someone’s life, including an unmanageable impulse to risk it all despite the negative consequences.

Problem gambling is not your fault – it is an illness. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes this gambling disorder, and it is even in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

We recognize these issues and are here to offer you a path to long-term recovery. Mental health professionals tailor each addiction treatment program to the circumstances of the client. We are fully committed to professional and compassionate care and have a data-proven track record of effective treatment and healing gambling and alcohol addictions.

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The Parallels Between Substance Use Disorders and Pathological Gambling

Other research suggests that a gambling disorder is a progressive, chronic, multi-stage disease. The ups and downs you may experience are typical for some struggling with the psychological and physiological symptoms you are facing.

The American Psychiatric Association also acknowledges that gambling addiction often co-exists with other conditions, such as substance use disorders. These co-occurrences can lead to dire outcomes, including the loss of housing and an elevated risk of suicide attempts.

Know these signs of pathological gambling and alcohol addiction:

  • Preoccupation with Gambling: An unrelenting preoccupation with gambling is an early sign of a gambling problem. Those struggling with gambling constantly think about past experiences at the gaming tables or with internet gambling and plan their lives around future events. This obsessive thinking frequently leads to the neglect of their personal life, work responsibilities, and social relationships.
  • Need to Gamble with Increasing Amounts: Some gamblers start risking their money to feel the excitement. The cravings for bigger wins can quickly lead to financial strain and socioeconomic disadvantages. It may also lead to depending on others for financial support. This reliance is often the starting point for an ongoing cycle of debt and gambling – a cycle that leads to worsening feelings of helplessness.
  • Attempts to Stop Gambling: Unsuccessful efforts to control or stop gambling are hallmarks of addiction. An inability to stop may lead to feelings of helplessness. It may also entrap someone further into gambling activities. As with alcohol addiction or drug addiction, addictive gambling leads to withdrawal symptoms. These include restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop gambling.
  • Gambling to Escape Problems: Many gamble to escape problems or alleviate feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression. Winning gives them a feeling of control. But while they feel some temporary relief, it can worsen any underlying mental health issues. But numbing the problematic gambling behavior without healing is why some with gambling addiction attempt suicide.
  • Chasing Losses: Trying to win back lost money, “chasing losses,” is another sign of a gambling addiction. Attempting to recoup losses is the starting point for a risky cycle of increased gambling, higher debts, and escalating financial and personal crises.
  • Lying to Conceal the Gambling and Alcohol Addiction: Individuals struggling with gambling and alcohol addiction may lie to family members, therapists, or others to hide the extent of their involvement with gambling. This dishonesty can strain relationships and thwart efforts to seek help. The shattered trust can take much work to heal.

These compulsive gambling behaviors can lead to the loss of consequential relationships and opportunities. The negative influence on someone’s personal and professional life can be profound and enduring.

Gambling Addiction, Alcoholism, and Drug Addiction

Gambling Addiction and Alcoholism

Drugs, gambling, and alcohol addiction often present together. This co-occurrence is not coincidental but instead ingrained in psychological, environmental, and biological elements. Our team understands these connections, so we can provide the substance abuse treatment you need.

We have a high success rate in helping those who once struggled with drugs, gambling, and alcohol addiction.

Shared Psychological Factors in Gambling Disorders and Substance Addictions

The connections between gambling addiction, alcoholism, and drug addiction are frequently tied to psychological factors that compel these behaviors. Many addictions struggle with underlying mental health issues.  These include anxiety disorders, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Mental disorders may create an inclination toward gambling and alcohol addiction as individuals try to dull the symptoms or numb their pain. The escape provided by gambling, alcohol, and drugs can be an effective short-term solution.

Unfortunately, they generally lead to an ever-repeating process of dependency and addiction. Casual time spent gaming can become compulsive gambling and start a perilous spiral into poor decision-making.

Environmental and Socioeconomic Status

Environmental factors play a noteworthy role in the development of addictions. Exposure to specific conditions, like casinos where gambling and alcohol use are the norm, can cement into place a gambling addiction.

Additionally, social isolation, socioeconomics, and a family substance abuse history further increase the odds of an individual developing addiction. These environmental impacts often mean addictive behaviors are normalized or seen as acceptable coping mechanisms.

The Role of Brain Chemistry in Gambling Addictions

Gambling Addiction as a Coping Mechanism

The addictiveness of gambling, alcohol, and drug use ingrains itself in the brain’s chemistry. These activities stimulate the brain’s reward system, releasing neurotransmitters like dopamine and thus creating a feeling of euphoria.

The brain eventually begins to link the behaviors with pleasure, an unfortunate connection that leads to cravings and compulsive behavior. This physiological response can create a chain reaction of risky behaviors as the individual seeks to trigger these rewarding feelings.

Gambling Addiction as a Coping Mechanism

Many individuals use gambling, drinking alcohol, and using drugs to cope with stress or trauma. These behaviors temporarily escape, offering relief for a brief while. However, the escapism can quickly spiral into alcohol or gambling disorders as the individual becomes even more reliant on them to manage their emotions.

The presence of one dependence can also mean an increased risk of developing another. For instance, someone struggling with alcohol abuse may be more susceptible to developing a gambling problem, and vice versa. This vulnerability is often due to the intricate web of related issues.

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Treating Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Treating gambling and alcohol addiction requires caring for the behavioral elements and mental health issues. Icarus Behavioral Health Nevada utilizes a range of evidence-based treatments and therapies. We take a comprehensive and personalized approach to patient care. Our staff helps manage addictive behaviors and gives clients the tools they need for long-term recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is key in our treatment of gambling addiction. CBT helps clients understand the negative thought patterns that lead to their lack of impulse control. Clients can forge healthier coping mechanisms once they name and challenge these thoughts.

CBT is highly effective in treating impulse control disorders, including gambling and alcohol use disorders, by helping clients recognize triggers and develop strategies to stay sober.

Another therapy, Motivational Interviewing, is a client-centered counseling style that addresses resistance to change. MI is incredibly effective in helping clients increase their motivation and commitment to change their addictive behaviors. The technique benefits those who may be uncertain about treatment or denying the severity of their gambling and alcohol addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment is critical as a recovery program component for those battling drug addiction, alcohol dependency, or co-occurring substance use disorders. MAT relies on prescribed medications, counseling, and behavioral therapies. This strategy can soothe withdrawal symptoms and cravings, making it easier for clients to concentrate on healing.

Group Therapy and Support Groups

Group therapy and support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA – find a group here) or Gamblers Anonymous (GA – find a conveniently located group here) offer priceless peer support. These free support groups provide an outlet for communicating lived experiences and learning from others facing equal challenges. The friendship and understanding found in these groups can be a powerful mechanism in beating addictive behavior.

Relapse Prevention Planning

Relapse prevention planning is an essential element of drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction treatment. It equips clients with the skills to identify and manage triggers and high-risk situations that may lead to a relapse. By developing a personalized plan to avoid triggering impulsive behaviors, clients are more confident in their ability to maintain recovery.

Relapse planning is an essential element of addiction treatment. It equips clients with the skills to identify and manage triggers and high-risk situations that may lead to a relapse. By developing a personalized plan to avoid triggering impulsive behaviors, clients are more confident in their ability to maintain recovery.

Family Therapy to Support a Loved One

Family Therapy for Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Family members getting involved in the treatment process can be a game-changer. That’s because the situation often affects loved ones as well as the person struggling with gambling and alcohol addiction.

Family therapy sessions help to improve family relationships by managing the influence of gambling addiction on the entire family unit. The approach also better familiarizes family members with pathological gambling and explains how they can support their loved one’s addiction recovery. A healed family provides a necessary safety net for someone struggling with a gambling addiction and co-occurring disorders.

All of the above-listed therapies are holistic approaches to treatment for alcohol use disorders and problem gambling, treating the entire person, not only the drinking and gambling behaviors. In addition to more formal therapies, clients also learn tools like mindfulness and stress management techniques. These help clients better understand their mind-body connection and why fostering health in this regard will enable the healing of gambling and alcohol addictions in a lasting way.

Get a Way Out of Problem Gambling and Drinking at Icarus!

Icarus Nevada Offers a Solution for Problem Gamblers

Are you ready to untangle the web of gambling and alcohol? It’s time for you to end the struggle against alcohol use disorder and problematic gambling behaviors. Gambling and alcohol abuse share many similar root causes, and our medical professionals have the tools to help you heal.

With our expert guidance, you can put your disorder and alcohol dependence into your past so that you can plan a better future. It’s your call to make!

Connect with Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada today. We understand the struggles that pathological gamblers face, and we are here to help you break free and regain control of your own life. Healing starts today!