Why Am I Addicted to Alcohol and Gambling?

Why Am I Addicted to Alcohol and Gambling?Addiction is a mystifying disease for many people. Gambling addiction and alcoholism are related in many ways, and the path to each is similar. Recovery from both alcohol and gambling addiction is possible with the right help and understanding.

The Basics of Alcohol and Gambling Addiction

When a person becomes addicted to a substance or behavior, it means he or she needs the drug or action to function or feel normal. They cannot control their use or behavior. A complex series of psychological and physical compulsions override any rational beliefs or commitments about quitting. The addiction becomes the primary focus in life, and the following areas of life are harmed:

  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Hobbies
  • Passions
  • Career
  • Personal freedom

How Alcohol and Gambling Addiction Develop

Psychological addiction happens when a substance or behavior stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. This is the same part of the brain that manages behavior, impulse control, emotions and memories. The feeling of euphoria associated with excessive consumption of alcohol washes over the pleasure center of the brain, relieving any feelings of anxiety or emotional pain. The combined thrill of the risk of loss and the rush of gain associated with gambling causes similar changes in the brain. The bigger the risk or the more alcohol consumed, the more intense the rush. The effects of both gambling and alcohol addiction can be intensified when combined.

The Nature of Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

Alcoholism happens when a person regularly drinks too much or periodically engages in binge drinking. While some people are born with a biological predisposition toward addiction in general, alcoholism still starts with a choice to drink. However, once the disease is established, it is no longer a matter of choice. The alcoholic will find it extremely difficult or even impossible to quit without help.

While gambling is not physically addictive in the same way alcohol is, it has an effect on the physiology of the brain and on psychology. The brain develops a tolerance for the adrenaline associated with gambling, and the gambler will need a larger risk in order to feel the desired effect. Gambling inevitably leads to loss which often includes remorse and regret and a desire to gamble again to create balance. The gambling addict may turn to substances like alcohol to regulate emotions related to gambling or to fill in the gaps between gambling sessions. While some can gamble occasionally without any problem, others become hooked the first time they try it. It may be that the same biological predisposition to alcoholism applies to gambling as well.

The Road to Alcoholism and Gambling Recovery

If you are wrestling with alcoholism or a compulsive gambling problem, you need help. Call our toll-free helpline any time of day or night. Our specially trained addiction experts can answer any questions you may have and can help you find the best possible treatment for your unique condition or that of a loved one. Don’t let your story end with alcohol and gambling. Call today, and let us help you begin a new journey.