What Can Happen When Addicted to Gambling Stops Working? For Me, Alcohol Abuse Began. Guest Article By ‘Alcohol Rehab Guide.’

What Can Happen When Addicted to Gambling Stops Working? For Me, Alcohol Abuse Began. Guest Article By ‘Alcohol Rehab Guide.’


Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

Alcoholism and gambling addiction are an especially dangerous combination that can cause significant harm to an afflicted individual and their families.

By  Edited: December 4, 2019 | 4 Sources


The Relationship Between Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction …

Alcoholism And Gambling Addiction Are Very Commonly Found In The Same Person, Possibly Because They Both Impact The Brain Similarly
Whether or not someone can be “addicted” to gambling is controversial. However, once gambling becomes compulsive, despite financial consequences, “addiction” becomes easy to observe. This is especially true when alcoholism and gambling addiction are combined.


What Is Gambling Addiction?

The acknowledgment of addictive drugs has been around for decades. 12-Step Programs, clinics, medical professionals, and websites have become dedicated to the understanding of the dangers of these substances. Non-pharmacological addictions, however, are often called into question. Categorized as a “Process Addiction,” Pathological Gambling was just recognized as an addiction by the American Psychiatric Association in May of 2013. Until then, it was categorized as an impulse control disorder. There is still debate as to whether Pathological Gambling is an addiction, though it is more widely accepted now than 30 years ago.


How Can Someone be Addicted to Gambling?

Addiction, in general, works by stimulating the brain in a way that it becomes dependent on that stimuli. Biologically speaking, when someone does something that makes their body happy, like eating or having sex, their brain releases dopamine as a reward. As humans developed, we discovered that certain drugs can provide a more potent release of dopamine. As the brain restructures itself around the use of the drug, the natural stimuli that the human brain would reward before are lessened.
This fundamental restructuring of the brain around a chemical substance is why there was so much controversy that something like gambling couldn’t cause an addiction, because there is no introduction of an external chemical for the brain to crave.

Though there is no chemical substance to interact in the brain, gambling has still been shown to trigger similar effects to alcohol. Some people with gambling addictions report feeling a euphoria when they gamble or in anticipation of leading up to the game. Similar to individuals dependent on drugs and alcohol, people with a gambling addiction will exhibit symptoms of withdrawal when they go without gambling for an extended amount of time. These symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and even heart palpitations.

Consider some of the criteria for a substance use disorder like alcoholism; 1) increasing frequency and amount, 2) increasing time spent, 3) continuing use despite negative consequences, 4) relationship problems, 5) neglecting major roles and responsibilities, 6) failed attempts to cut down or quit, 7) loss of interest in enjoyable activities, 8) preoccupation, and 9) compulsion. All of these are present in someone with a gambling addiction.

Similarities Between Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

There is a large percentage of people who suffer from alcoholism that have issues with gambling addiction, and vice versa. While there could be several reasons as to why someone may experience both, many researchers are looking at the similarities between the two addictions as the answer. The underlying reactions that are triggered in the brain when someone consumes alcohol are very similar to when someone gambles.
In fact, the brain will release dopamine after someone gambles, the same process that happens in addictive drugs. The way these two reactions can stack on each other, along with the prevalence of alcohol in casinos, makes the potential of alcoholism and gambling addiction as co-occurring disorders even more likely.

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Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction as Co-Occurring Disorders

Potentially due to the similar reactions consuming alcohol and gambling have on the brain, someone who is addicted to one has a greater risk of developing an addiction to the other. People who are addicted to gambling may turn to alcohol to settle their nerves while gambling, or if they’ve gone a prolonged amount of time without, gambling. Using alcohol to curb the negative effects of withdrawal can make them susceptible to heavy and problematic drinking, potentially leading to the development of alcoholism. Likewise, someone who suffers from alcoholism may seek comfort in casinos.

People who suffer from an early stage of alcohol addiction will often look for a place where they can drink without judgment or people questioning it. The prevalence of alcohol in casinos makes it a popular place to drink heavily. Many casinos serve free alcohol or constantly have servers offer alcohol to casino patrons.

Naturally, this opens someone up to the temptation of gambling. Judgment is one of the first things to be impaired when under the influence of alcohol, and someone can be easily swayed to play and bet higher than they would sober. So, as they progress in one addiction, they’re developing another.

Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction Statistics

6 percent

Studies have speculated that, at most, 6% of people have or will have an issue with Pathological Gambling.

20 percent

Of the people diagnosed with an Alcohol Use Disorder, it is speculated that 20% of them also deal with a Gambling Addiction.

1-in-5 people

1 in 5, or 20%, of people suffering from Gambling Addiction attempt suicide.


Recovering from Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

If you, or someone you know, are suffering from alcoholism and gambling addiction, they can be treated at the same time. Being honest and admitting that you are having problems related to drinking and gambling is the first step on the path to recovery.
If you are ready to take that first step, or just need some guidance, then reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist.

The fine folks of ‘Alcohol Rehab Guide’  as they help people get their lives back.



“My After Thoughts – Honoring Bobby H. & His Sister Ronda Hatefi, This Past Weekends National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling – My Story”

Hello and Welcome All Recovery Friends & New Visitors,


“It was a big weekend for Raising Awareness of Predatory Gambling! I blogged from morning until night with several posts I hope helped some or all who came to visit my recovery blog this past weekend”…

There were many events that took place all over the United States and around the world to ‘Honor The Memory’ of Ronda’s brother Bobby Hafemann who in 1995 to his life by suicide related to his problems with gambling. Bobby was only 28 years old.
Ronda commemorates Bobby’s birthday every year on September 29 through Problem Gamblers Awareness Day. She also chairs the Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee.

But this year, my good friends and the fine folks of  Stop Predatory Gambling  helped to honor Bobby and his sister with the very First National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling this past weekend! Sept 26th & 27th 2015. Now since I suffer Agoraphobia, I took to my blog and social media and blogged about “All Things Gambling Addiction & Recovery!” I also wanted to thank Ronda, as I put my last post up late last night, and shared throughout social media, she had some nice words and re-shared my post links on her Facebook page.

So, I thought I would do one more post as an after event wrap up by sharing some of my book with all that shares when I learned, shown and became addicted to The Oregon Lottery Video Poker & Slot Machines. I stopped going to the Indian casinos. All I had to do was walk up the street to gamble on the machines that were through the Oregon Lottery. Access is a BIG factor with problem and addicted gamblers. And these machines are everywhere throughout the state. So is the part from my current book/memoir of how I learned about the Oregon Lottery .. .. .
– – – – – –

Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.

( Click to purchase from Amazon )

“After a visit to Oregon with my parents, my best friend, Debbie, who had lived next door to me in California for many years, decided to move to Oregon. She stayed with us until she got settled at her new job. About the same time, the state of Oregon passed a bill to allow video poker machines in places that served food, such as bars, taverns and delis. The lottery already had Keno games online. For my addiction, that was a downfall for me when I started compulsively gambling later on. It was so accessible.”

If you live in Oregon, you know what I mean. If you think about it, gambling is socially accepted. It’s pretty much everywhere you go – even in our children’s schools, with raffles, casino fundraisers, in our churches with bingo, and at our gas stations, markets and grocery stores with Megabucks, Powerball, Mega-millions drawings and scratch-off tickets. So, for an addicted gambler, it seems action really is everywhere, and when you’re addicted, you have no self-control. You feel as though you’re constantly teetering on a high wire.

When the video poker machines were approved by the state, the machines also popped up everywhere. Why drive to Las Vegas, Reno or Lake Tahoe, or go to an Indian casino, when you can go up the street to gamble? In the town where I live, there were little sandwich delis opening up around town and, as long as they served food and soft drinks, they could have up to six poker machines in their stores. They also sold beer, wine coolers and the cheapest cigarettes in town. They offered all types of lottery services and games.

As my husband continued working out-of-town for the next several months, and with my friend Debbie staying with me, she and I would often go have lunch at one of these deli’s. Around the same time, she and I would take weekend trips to the Indian casino, or go to the deli for lunch a lot more often. As that year went by, I also noticed I’d spend a little more money than I should have. I believe it was because of the easy access to gambling, and too much time on my hands. Was I addicted at this point? Hardly. That would soon change, though. As I look back now, I was experiencing a few “red flags” of addiction, but not recognizing them.

I remember having built-up feelings of excitement before I went, knowing I’d get to gamble if we went to lunch, or if we were going to the casino. The only thing I did was play Keno if we went to lunch at our local deli. I had never played the new video poker machines there, which were operated by the state lottery. One day, in early 1998, Deb and I went to have our usual lunch at the deli on a Saturday. We started talking three retired gentlemen, who were also having lunch and playing Keno while they ate. One of them finished his lunch and was on the other side of the deli playing one of the video poker machines, so I walked over to watch him play. He was winning. He had about $ 140 worth of credits on his machine. I asked him how much of that money did he start with. He said only $ 10. Well, you don’t have to tell a person who works in a bank how much profit he’d made so far.

Flush Fever

He was playing a game called “Flush Fever,” and explained how the game worked. I think that’s the day my life changed. The machine next to him was open, so I sat next to him and put in only $ 5 and won $ 45. I thought, ‘Wow, that sure was easy money.’ So I cashed out my ticket, sat back down next to him and played again. I started with $ 10 – it was a quarter game, so I increased my bet to 75 cents a hand. The machine started paying again. See, it’s the allure of the game and thinking you’re winning every time you play. That’s why winning, for an addicted gambler, is bad. It will keep a person’s ass on that chair gambling.

As I was playing, the guy next to me got up and was getting ready to leave. For as long as I’m alive, I will always remember what happened next: He leaned over my shoulder and said to me, “When you’re ahead, always cash out, and know when to leave with THEIR money, because I’d really hate myself if you got hooked on these machines.” Oh, if only I had listened to his sage wisdom.

“I still look back, all these years later, and remember what that man said to me. He never knew how that day changed my life, because I never saw him there again.” .. .. ..
–  –  –  –  – –

“Before I write about the woman I am, you need to know the little girl I was.”

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.”  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“This book is dedicated to my loving husband of 22 years. (Now 26 years this Sept 29th!) Tom, without you, your unconditional love for me and support throughout the years of my gambling addiction and recovery, I never would have made it back to reality. You have made me a better person for not just giving up on me, and for always knowing the true woman you married all those years ago. We both know now that no matter what life throws at us, we can weather any storm that comes our way. We deserve to have peace and serenity for the rest of our days together.”

“I also dedicate this book to all those who suffer from this illness, or those who may be afflicted with this insidious, insane addiction. Know that there is help out there, and hope, if you choose recovery. This illness is treatable, and there is life after gambling addiction. Our path to recovery may be rocky or difficult at times, but know you’re not alone.”

“There are others out there suffering from this destructive addiction.”


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Gambling Recovery Advocate 🙂 XO