Gambling Recovery and Dual Diagnosis, Co-occur, or Dual Addictions With Other Disorders. What’s The Difference? I am and Many Are and Growing …

Gambling Recovery and Dual Diagnosis, Co-occur, or Dual Addictions With Other Disorders. What’s The Difference? I am and Many Are and Growing …

When I was gambling addictively and to the point of my first failed suicide attempt in 2002, I was transferred from the hospital to a mental health and addiction crisis center for a 20-day stay and where my gambling treatment began. While I was there my primary doctor and their psychiatrist found after a series of tests that I was also suffering from several mental health disorders.

I wasn’t until my gambling addiction that brought to the surface these symptoms and could be properly diagnosed. They both came to the conclusion as well that I may have been suffering from some of the mental and emotional disorders since birth. Now, the catch was to be properly diagnosed and reassessed after you begin the path of recovery. It took some months to get it right.

See, I was using gambling to escape, and numb out many haunting memories and feelings from my abuse and traumatic past that began to came back and had happened to me as a little girl including being sexually abused. So needless to say, I was suffering from PTSD, severe manic depression, mania, OCD and bipolar one with insomnia at the time I entered the crisis center.

They ordered a brain scan at the time and found I had depleted the “pleasure and reward” chemical and system of my brain from the many years of addictive gambling and had no feelings or sense of pleasure, but thinking I was getting it when I gambled. I was a Hot Mess!

I know, it all sounds confusing and was for me at the time. But, I listened to my doctors and began medication and therapy process that would take a long while and a few changes to my meds to get my mental health under control and begin the recovery work needed to regain my life back and to begin feeling better.

So, what are Dual Diagnosis, Co-occurring, and Co-addictions?  I came across a good article by way of the fine folks of  “Recovery Ranch Center” that really explains the differences when you are treated for gambling addiction. Co-addiction however, just means you are suffering from more than one addiction at a time.

The most recent research I could find about dual-addictions, meaning being treated for more than one addiction at the same time was from an article from 2003: …”About 1.1 million Americans received treatment for addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both on a typical day last year, according to findings from the 2003 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). Half of those receiving treatment were addicted to both drugs and alcohol.”

I am sure this total has risen in the past 15-years now with the opioid crisis and epidemic happening. Here is the article I found and more about Gambling Addiction and having Mental Health and Disorders as being Dually-Diagnosed …

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Gambling Addiction Often Co-Occurs With Other Disorders
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Oftentimes, when a person shows symptoms of an addiction to something, there are other problems at play in their mind. For the addiction to be treated, the other disorders also need to be addressed, like mental illness.

A webinar that focused on how to counsel the pathological gambler revealed other disorders that often co-exist with a gambling addiction. Dr. Jon Grant, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder, discussed other mental health disorders and other addictions that are associated with gambling addictions and offered ideas on how to treat those individuals.

WHEN A FULL HOUSE CAN WRECK THE HOME

People start gambling for multiple reasons. Some enjoy the thrill, the risk-taking, and the power. Some, who feel isolated, use it as a way to feel social. Others use it as a way to relieve stress and anxiety or even to try to cure their depression. Yet, one addiction cannot properly heal another.

Gambling addictions are associated with multiple problems that weaken personal and family life:

  • Poor physical health
  • Poor mental health
  • Losing a job
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal behavior
  • Divorce

Sometimes those problems come before the gambling problem, driving the person to look for satisfaction in a dangerous venue if not controlled. Those who already suffer from a mental health disorder are more at risk for addiction when gambling. For others, gambling addiction is the cause of the other family and personal problems that come later.

ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING

Those with gambling addictions also often suffer from substance abuse. Dr. Grant states that substance abuse is seven times greater in those who gamble. Nicotine and alcohol are the most commonly used substances.

Grant also mentioned that disorders with symptoms of being impulsive and risky were also frequently seen in those with gambling addictions. There were associations between individuals with gambling addiction and those who also had problems with impulsive shopping, stealing, eating, and sexual behavior.

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING

Pathological gambling has been associated with serious mental illnesses, sometimes as the cause and other times as the result of untreated mental illness. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses associated with gambling addiction. Some hope that a roll of the dice or the spin of the slot machines can help them have some fun in life and help them relax. In reality, over time it often makes the depression and anxiety worse.

Dr. Grant revealed that 76 percent of a gambling addiction treatment group suffered from depression. Astoundingly, 16 to 40 percent of pathological gamblers suffered from lifetime anxiety. For some, the pressure becomes too great. The risk of suicide is higher in gamblers than non-gamblers.

Other mental illnesses associated with gambling are bipolar disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Of a study group, 24 percent of pathological gamblers had a lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder. Twenty percent had symptoms for a life-time prevalence of ADHD or OCD and most likely born with them.

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Dr. Grant stresses that when treating those with a gambling addiction, all of their disorders should be identified and prioritized for treatment. Through methods such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support those with a gambling addiction can find healing and become a winner for life.

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I Hope you find this article and my sharing of my recovery from gambling addiction having still today, managed mental and emotional disorders. I make sure now I make all my doctor visits and get a physical each year to remain healthy and managed. If you don’t have your health? You can’t be of help to others. And maintaining recovery means having to put YOU! First including your Health!

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~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate/Author 

 

 

 

“Just Recovery with a side of Mental and Emotional Illness Please”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors,

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I wanted to talk a little about “Dual Diagnosis,” and living life in recovery, and suffer with Mental/Emotional illness and disorders, which I am a person affected with these issues…

Two things happened yesterday to bring this topic to light for me. The first was this very topic was talked about last night on my Twitter Tweet-Chat, as was yesterday morning I got a call from my husband’s sister. She said she had bad news about my husband’s nephew Ricky. She had to talk him into checking himself into a mental crisis center via the ER. I guess he has battled severe depression for weeks and started to have thoughts of SUICIDE! So he did check himself in. See, he and his brother has had a really rough patch for the past 2 years. And, I’m now convinced my husband’s side of the family has problems with mental & emotional issues. Ricky and his brother only just lost their mom to “Intentional Suicide” drug overdose a year ago. She to was suffering mental illness, and started miss using her psych meds which then took all her meds and committed suicide.
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So both boys have tried to process all that, AND, they lost their father the year before that suddenly of a massive heart attack. So the family has battled, and were trying to process it all. All three have had past problems with Bipolar and Severe Depression problems for some time now before all of this tragedy. We as a family did all we could to help the boys mom, but it’s hard watching a grown person 24/7 when you also are working full-time. So as far as Ricky having these issues now, really it doesn’t surprise me. He has so much going for him too! He just got out of the Air Force, after serving 8 years, and got on with Boeing Corp., which he was so happy about.
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So it makes me sad to hear that now he is struggling. Many times we get so wrapped up in Life, that we lose our awareness of HOW we are feeling, especially if you have mental illness. I know I have done this myself from time to time. I to struggled with my mental and emotional disorders in early recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse when I gambled. After my crisis center stay in 2002, which is when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar II with depression, and slight mania. And it’s really difficult working with behavioral professionals and doctors to get the proper meds for me, you at times feel like an experiment. Then, in 2006, I was back in a mental crisis center for the 2nd time, and not anything of gambling addiction. I had a total break down as 2 of my meds stopped working.

But I also made it worse by getting hooked on the thoughts of JUST WANTING TO BE NORMAL! So I stopped all my meds. Bad thing to do. I learned that lesson the HARD WAY. I attempted suicide for the 2nd time, and Thank the Lord I failed, or I wouldn’t be here right now sharing the importance of never screwing with your Psych Meds! I just had to come to acceptance that I have to treat my mental and emotional illness as if I was a diabetic, or have some other illness. I just kept asking GOD, “WHY ME? isn’t it bad enough that I have to live life in recovery, because I have no control over my obsessive nature & behavioral problems”? What the HELL is normal anyway? So I had to just accept what IS, and not get hung up on the Why’s? And I sure as HELL don’t let my mental & emotional limitations get in the way of what I love doing, and help others in recovery too.
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So Ricky is in the care of professionals, and is safe. He knows he has the families support. But I still worry. The whole family is still worried. And for myself, it is at times a battle when I feel I’m stuck in a bipolar cycle, and if your aware of how your feeling, you can detect a rough patch so we use our life skills we learn to help get us through those rough patch’s. For the person going through it like myself, we have to be diligent with taking our meds properly, eating healthy, read and learn about your specific illness and disorders. And never feel like you CAN’T ASK FOR HELP if your just not feeling right.
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I’m now going through a new phase of my own treatment of mental illness. Some of the psych meds we take can have other medical problems, and the one I’m having trouble with is my elevated blood pressure & cholesterol. So I’m going to have to change my meds again. But I will be doing so with the help of my primary doctor, and my psychiatrist. I have had blood work done, and a new brain MRI, and it’s amazing that they can show the colors of the scan, and places where you maybe having less, more, or none of depleted chemicals and area’s of the brain your having trouble with.
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Now my psychiatrist says, besides the Agoraphobia I have, which came as a side effect from my years of addicted gambling, I’ve had problems now with PTSD & bad dreams from my childhood trauma & sex abuse. So it’s that experiment phase again! And I’m not looking forward to it. BUT,….. I will do what I need to do to stay balanced and healthy, because I know what can happen when I DON’T! My faith & hope gets me through a lot.
So when I saw these quotes, I wanted to share them here with this blog post, as they have much truth to them.
I know my higher power is always on my side. It was HE who told me NO to  my suicide attempts. He has worked Miracles in my life! And he can work them in yours to if you only listen and feel them.
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Christian Today's photo.
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Helping Others is what helps keep me in Recovery!

We Are Humanity's photo.Narcotics Anonymous's photo.
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And yes, until you have experienced addiction, mental or emotional issues, many people don’t understand what we go through, what we face as daily challenges. It’s really time to speak-up and to speak-out about all these important issues. It’s why I write, blog, and share my own, so others who also suffer can know they are not alone, and that it is OK to talk about them. No one should feel shame because they suffer from mental/emotional illness or disorders. There is help available. Don’t wait until it’s to late, as suicide is NEVER an option. Not even to stop addiction. No matter where you have been, how far down that rabbit hole you may have fallen in, death is not the answer! It never should be! …
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USA (& Canada) National Council on Problem Gambling Helpline
24 hours, 7 days a week, confidential Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-522-4700
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National Suicide Prevention Hotline  1-800-273-8255  (24/7)
National Alliance On Mental Illness   1-800-950-6264 (M-F)
National Mental Hotline  1-800-662-4357 (24/7)
Disaster Distress Hotline  1-800-985-5990 (24/7)
Veterans Crisis Hotline  1-800-273-8255 (24/7)
National Domestic Violence Hotline  1-800-799-7233 (24/7)
National Child Abuse Hotline  1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
National Elder Abuse Hotline  1-800-677-1116 (9am/8pm)
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God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485
 

 

“FEAR”….It’s In My Recovery, In My Mental Illness, And In My Past Pain Of Childhood Trauma”…

Hello And Welcome Recovery Friends & Seekers,

 

What does fear mean to you?
Do you live with any type of fear?
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How can one word have so many different meanings? Even though FEAR happens to most people if we let it, fear comes in many different forms. Some fear we can control, but there is much about fear that we have no control over. Lets start with just the definition of FEAR:
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fear
fi(ə)r/
noun
noun: fear; plural noun: fears
  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
    “drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murder”
anxiety, worry, angst, unease, uneasiness.
informalthe creeps, the shivers, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, jitteriness, twitchiness, butterflies (in the stomach)
“he felt fear at entering the house”
informalhang-up
“she overcame her fears”
  • archaic
    a mixed feeling of dread and reverence.
    “the love and fear of God”
  • a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone.
    “police launched a search for the family amid fears for their safety”
verb
verb: fear; 3rd person present: fears; past tense: feared; past participle: feared; gerund or present participle: fearing
  1. 1.
    be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.
    “he said he didn’t care about life so why should he fear death?”
    synonyms: be afraid of, be fearful of, be scared of, be apprehensive of, dread, live in fear of, be terrified of;

    be anxious about, worry about, feel apprehensive about
    “she feared her husband”
    have a phobia about, have a horror of, take fright at
    “he fears heights”
    • feel anxiety or apprehension on behalf of.
      “I fear for the city with this madman let loose in it”
      synonyms: worry about, feel anxious about, feel concerned about, have anxieties about More

      “they feared for his health”
    • used to express regret or apology.
      “I’ll buy her book, though not, I fear, the hardback version”
    • archaic
      regard (God) with reverence and awe.
      synonyms: stand in awe of, revere, reverence, venerate, respect More

      “all who fear the Lord”
Origin
Old English fǣr ‘calamity, danger,’ fǣran ‘frighten,’ also ‘revere.’

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What stands out the most about the word fear is the words, scared, frightened, apprehensive.
See, I have many different types of fear I live and struggle with daily! Some comes from recovery, some come from my mental illness disorders, and even though I have 7yrs from the bet,  from gambling addiction, I still have a couple amends fears I still need to work through.
The biggest at the moment is the one with my own father.
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That’s a whole other blog post. I have guilt about this one amends as I’m now only 4 hours away from where my dad lives, as opposed to when I was still living in So. Oregon, which is an 11 1/2 hour drive. I have to get past the fear of my father turning me away if I was to go down and visit, and try to make an amends with him since it has been 9 years since he has spoken to me, and for a reason I have no clue of. So I guess in the back of my mind I feel that I wasn’t the one who stopped communicating with him, so why should I have to make the amends?

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But as we all know in recovery, we need to be the better person regardless, and I need to at least try. I know that. But knowing and doing are very two different things. The other huge fear I have in the amends department is the one to my Best Friend! I’ll call her Deb. What prompted this whole “Fear Thing” was, yesterday I found out my best friend Deb’s dad passed away on May 8th, last month. My heart fell into my stomach. Deb and her family moved next door to us in So. Calif. when we were 13 years old, her and I. We had done everything together. Sleep overs, school, dating, and more! We were like sisters. This month we actually would have been friends for 37 years! But because of my addiction, we became estranged. She went into AA, and I was still gambling my Ass Off! I didn’t try, or reach out for recovery from addicted gambling and alcohol abuse until a year and half later.
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But within that year and a half I had done some pretty bad things to her, again, another whole future blog post. But with her going to AA, I thought, “well she would understand some day how stupid I was within my addiction, and that I never meant to hurt her.” We had been friends to long for that. I also thought, “well, she is in AA so she will understand the whole forgive and amends thing right”?  WRONG! She also has the choice to not forgive and not be friends, which is what happened. SO,….. that’s another amends I need to get done. But that stupid, freaking, FEAR keeps holding me back!
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Or am I using it as an excuse because of fear of rejection, of being hurt myself? Then I have the fears that come along with my daily challenges of mental illness on top of the recovery fear challenges, and it all sometimes gets a bit overwhelming for me some days. So I’m currently working on my fears, dissociation, depression, and agoraphobia with panic with my mental health psychiatrist and councilor on life skills to help me through all this. I also was asked by them to journal at the end of each day the “thoughts” I tell myself of why I don’t follow through on the things I want to do outside my home, but my fear from the agoraphobia holds me hostage! I felt like telling my councilor, I don’t have a discussion going on in my head all day, or talk to myself! But he says I’m doing it in my conscience somewhere. What Ever….
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Here is what ‘Agoraphobia fear’ definition:

Breaking down the term agoraphobia gives us its literal definition.
A phobia is an intensely irrational fear. This meaning suggests that agoraphobia is an intense and abnormal fear of open or public places. But, this definition falls short in explaining the true meaning of this condition.
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For the agoraphobic, the fear is not necessarily associated with open spaces. The central feature of agoraphobia is intense fear (panic response) of being in certain situations in which escape is difficult or potentially embarrassing, or where help is not readily available. This may include many places that would not meet the definition of open spaces, including many confined spaces. Such situations may include leaving home alone, being home alone, traveling by car, train or bus, being in an elevator, being in a crowd, being in a large store or mall, being on a bridge or standing in a line.
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The fear associated with agoraphobia results in behavioral changes in order to avoid feared situations. An individual with agoraphobia may survey settings for escape routes and avoid situations where an exit is not easily available. This leads to avoidant behavior that may include only driving on certain roads, always sitting near the door in meeting or school settings, avoiding crowded places, or avoiding any place where it may be difficult to get to an exit. In extreme cases, the fear may become so consuming that the individual will not leave the house alone or becomes homebound altogether.
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Now there is more, but I don’t want to bore you death!…LOL. But the key word we see over and over is FEAR. So, am I doomed to never be a part of life, part of the living, enjoying all the outdoors has to offer me? At this point, I don’t know. I take each day as it comes. I do however, feel the trauma I endured as a child plays a big part in this big nasty mix of things. It definitely made it difficult for me to feel close to my father when I was younger, and into my teens. But I have had worked hard to get through all that, as it was/is part of my recovery work and therapy, what happened to me was not my father’s fault when I was a little girl. And it was not my fault either.
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I also think I had a set back from the quick and traumatic move that happened this pass Sept 2013, from having to make the choice for my hubby’s job to move from SO. Oregon to Glendale, AZ. I really don’t care for the desert, it’s why I moved from So. Calif. to SO. Oregon when I was only 25 years old. I wanted away from the heat, smog, and long drive for work. Our lives began there, my husband and I, and lived there for 26 years. I miss if very much. And don’t get me started about the whole move and drive for 2 days to get here. AWFUL!!
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I’ll close with an Inspirational Quote….
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Recovery has given me a life now with no regrets…. just a few things to do.
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Happiness & Blessings All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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