Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and Personal Experiences. Problem Gambling 101. No Substances Required For This Addiction.

Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and Personal Experiences. Problem Gambling 101. No Substances Required For This Addiction.

 

If there is one thing I know inside and out?

It’s problem and addicted gambling on an intimate level and how this progressive disease is baffling and the building into a full-blown addiction. How it becomes a slow shift from being a once-in-a-while gambler to obsessive out-of-control addict! And how it got me years ago when having lots of time on my hands. While my husband was working out of town a lot. Being bored after work not wanting to go home to an empty house. It then became my only fun and excitement in life at that time back in late 1996. As it really ramped up all of 1997 and beyond.

It then progressed from there and my life wouldn’t be the same as it got “UGLY” for many years. All that can be read within my first book. That was the purpose of having my journals printed in book form and became a memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and Cheat.” It isn’t how to recovery from this addiction, it is the WHY and HOW of being a gambling addict.

After two times through a county health gambling treatment program, two failed suicide attempts, living with undiagnosed mental health disorders for years, finally properly diagnosed and  finally on the road maintaining recovery is when I learned some of the “ROOTS” and underlying issues to my addiction. Toward the end and about 7 months before treatment, lead me to abuse alcohol because addicted gambling alone was becoming, “Not Enough.”

Being informed, educated, and knowledgable about this illness was, for me, important since I now advocate about this disease that cost me way more than money wasted. I tell my sponsees it almost took my life, twice.  Now does that sound like gambling is just all about FUN, Games, and Entertainment? Not to those who become addicted.

So, courtesy of Wikipedia and “Gamblers Anonymous Site” — and in order for those to understand this disease who have NO experienced it or have not been “touched” by any addiction? I ask…

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What Is Addiction?

Addiction is when the body or mind badly wants or needs something in order to work right. (Cravings, Urges, and Triggers)…When you suffer addiction to something it is called being addicted or being an addict. People can be addicted to drugs, gambling, smoking, alcohol, coffee, , porn, and many other things.

When somebody is addicted to something, they can become sick if they do not get the thing they are addicted to. But taking more of the thing they are addicted to can also hurt their health. Some people who are addicts need to go to a doctor, hospital, or treatment to cure the addiction, so they no longer crave (want or need) …

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What Is Problem Gambling or Addicted Gambling?

Problem gambling is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior.

Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs.

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Other Names Ludomania, gambling addiction, compulsive gambling

 

A DSM-5 has re-classified the condition as an addictive disorder, with sufferers exhibiting many similarities to those who have substance addictions. The term gambling addiction has long been used in the recovery movement.[1] Pathological gambling was long considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be an impulse control disorder rather than an addiction.
However, data suggest a closer relationship between pathological gambling and substance use disorders than exists between PG and obsessive-compulsive disorder, largely because the behaviors in problem gambling and most primary substance use disorders (i.e. those not resulting from a desire to “self-medication” for another condition such as depression) seek to activate the brain’s reward mechanisms while the behaviors characterizing obsessive-compulsive disorder are prompted by overactive and misplaced signals from the brain’s fear mechanisms.

Problem gambling is an addictive behavior with a high comorbidity with alcohol problems. A common feature shared by people who suffer from gambling addiction is impulsivity. (Mine so happened to be for Escaping or Coping with old childhood trauma).


Signs and symptoms

In order to be diagnosed, an individual must have at least four of the following symptoms in a 12-month period:

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement
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  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
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  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
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  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
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  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
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  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
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  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
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  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling
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  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

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I experienced all of the above from my gambling addiction and continued to get even MORE SEVERE! Did I use household money to gamble? YES. Did I gamble my paycheck in a few hours? YES. Did I steal and lie to get money to gamble? YES… AND MORE. It is a cunning sick addiction and disease.

THEN CAME? Suicide attempts!

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Suicide is a permanent solution to what is a temporary problem ...

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Suicide Rates

The gambler who does not receive treatment for pathological gambling when in his or her desperation phase may contemplate SUICIDE. Problem gambling is often associated with increased Suicidal Ideation and attempts compared to the general population. 1 in 5 will try suicide. Early-onset of problem gambling increases the lifetime risk of suicide. However, gambling-related suicide attempts are usually made by older people with problem gambling.

A 2010 Australian hospital study found that 17% of suicidal patients admitted to the Alfred Hospital’s emergency department were problem gamblers. In the United States, a report by the National Council on Problem Gambling showed approximately one in five pathological gamblers attempt suicide.

The council also said that suicide rates among pathological gamblers were higher than any other addictive disorder.  2.6% of people living in the United States are now problem gamblers. According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, evidence indicates that pathological gambling is an addiction similar to chemical addiction.


Studies have compared pathological gamblers to substance addicts, concluding that addicted gamblers display more physical symptoms during withdrawal. A myth needing known. Addicted gamblers DO go through a Detox and Withdrawal period. Deficiencies in serotonin might also contribute to compulsive behavior, including a gambling addiction.

 

Lastly, the Pathological Part of this ADDICTION:

Several psychological mechanisms are thought to be implicated in the development and maintenance of problem gambling.

First, reward processing seems to be less sensitive to problem gamblers.
Second, some individuals use problem gambling as an escape from the problems in their lives.

Third, personality factors play a role, such as narcissism, risk-seeking, sensation-seeking, and impulsivity.

Fourth, problem gamblers suffer from a number of cognitive biases, including the illusion of control, unrealistic optimism, overconfidence and the gambler’s fallacy, which is (the incorrect belief that a series of random events tends to self-correct so that the absolute frequencies of each of various outcomes balance each other out).

Fifth, problem gamblers represent a chronic state of a behavioral spin process, a gambling spin, as described by the criminal spin theory…

If you want more in-depth information about gambling addiction there is more informative information at Wikipedia here: about problem and addicted gambling.

~Advocate/Author, Catherine Lyon

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When Gambling Addiction & Alcoholism Collide ~ A Re-Share Article I Found By Addiction-Treatment.Com

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Visitors,
*HAPPY HOLIDAYS*

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This blog post re-share is for one of my New and resent visitors. In the safety of anonymity, they will know who they are and can comment if they would like to be known, and where you can find them.
YES,. . .  I know, everyone loves a Mystery . . .LOL.

But I always show this courtesy to all my recovery’ friends. They happen to come by my ‘Author Facebook page’ and sent a direct message asking a really interesting question??  They asked if people with gambling problems or addiction have an alcohol problem as well? I did answer from my own personal experiences.
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As I did abuse alcohol, but it wasn’t my true addiction, gambling was. They also said they could not find much on this topic. So I did some research and I actually found a treatment website that had an article about this topic and thought I would share it with my new friend, and all of you.

As we all know sitting in ‘the rooms’ of NA, AA, or GA, we hear from many who have what we call, “Dual Addictions”.
So here is the “Article” I happen to come across, and I how this helps. And if any of you know of any recovery websites that address’ this topic, please share the link so we all can go visit and be informed together! I feel we can never have too much knowledge about addiction and recovery!  *Catherine*
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DUAL DIAGNOSIS: When Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction Collide . . .
Posted Wed, May 1, 2013 

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Alcoholism and gambling addiction are both serious problems that can have life-altering consequences. When one person suffers from both of these disorders at the same time, it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate their symptoms. Fortunately, treatment of co-occurring mental illnesses is becoming more common. Those who are seeking help for a gambling addiction as well as alcoholism need to find a rehab program that specializes in dual diagnosis.

Alcoholism or alcohol addiction is one of the most well-known and common substance abuse addictions. Alcoholism occurs when a person becomes dependent on beer, wine, or spirits to help him manage on a day-to-day basis. Some alcoholics are functioning, meaning that they can maintain their personal relationships and their job even though they consume alcohol every day and cannot get by without it. Some alcoholics are ruled by their desire for alcohol, even though it harms their family and work life. Sometimes people start out as functioning alcoholics and lose control later.

Gambling addiction is characterized by the need to gamble, even when there are serious consequences for gambling. People addicted to gambling may spend a large amount of time thinking about gambling and figuring out how to get money to fund their gambling. Some people with gambling problems repeatedly put themselves in severe financial straits, relying on friends or family members to bail them out. Gambling addiction is regarded as a mental health disorder.
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Dual diagnosis occurs when someone is found to be suffering from a substance abuse problem as well as a mental health disorder. Alcoholism and gambling addiction co-occur frequently. This may be in part because gambling establishments often provide alcohol. Some people who are addicted to gambling use alcohol to self medicate. Gambling is fundamentally an impulse control disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their impulse to gamble, even when there are consequences.
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Some people may drink because it dulls their desire to act on their impulse to gamble. Unlike some other mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with alcoholism, gambling addiction is fairly easy to identify. Other problems, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder can be harder to diagnose in the face of alcohol abuse. That is in part because long-term use of alcohol can cause you to develop symptoms such as depression. After the fact, it’s impossible to determine whether the symptoms existed before overuse of alcohol began.

Gambling addiction can be easily identified because the behavior is obvious. Frequently people with gambling addictions are forced to seek help because of the loss of job, the breakdown of a marriage, or another serious life-altering problem. Before treatment for the gambling addiction can be successful, the alcohol addiction must be addressed. The reverse is also true. There is no point in working hard to recover from a gambling addiction when there’s no way that you or your therapist can know to what extent your symptoms are controlled or worsened by your use of alcohol.

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Likewise, you cannot completely recover from alcohol dependency without addressing your gambling problem. During rehab, you will spend much time with a therapist who will help you examine how you came to be addicted to alcohol. If you are using both gambling and alcohol as a way to numb yourself emotionally, than continuing gambling will not help you face the emotional problems that led you to drink.

To get help recovering from gambling addiction and alcoholism, you need to find a rehab center that specializes in dual diagnosis. Though this is a specialized form of rehab, there are still plenty of options in terms of cost, treatment method, and philosophical approach. If you are religious, you may feel most comfortable in a treatment program based on the teachings of your religion. If you are concerned about impulse control, you may wish to seek out a treatment program that places you in real life situations and helps you learn to cope. For example, some rehab programs may organize trips to bars or casinos so that you can practice being in these environments without succumbing to your addiction.

Some rehab programs may use medication to help manage your impulse control problems or urge to drink. If your doctor feels that medication is necessary for you to move forward in your treatment, remember that medication can be a stepping stone. You will not necessarily need to stay on medication permanently.

After you get out of rehab, you may wish to work with a therapist who can help you on an ongoing basis. The therapist will be important support for you if you are ever tempted to relapse. Rather than work with two therapists, one to help you with your alcohol addiction and the other to help you with a gambling addiction, look for one therapist who specializes in dual diagnosis. If such a therapist is not near your home, you can look into alternative therapy methods such as virtual addiction treatment sessions.

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Now I know there are many ways we can recover. We can use a combination of several things. Support is also very important to a person attempting recovery, especially early recovery. Get a sponsor if you are in a 12-Step program.
I know how hard it was to reach my own very first year in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. It took me a couple tries, and then some!! My 2nd book almost finished and soon to come out is about exactly this problem. How to reach that ‘First Year’ in early recovery. So it is much of the topics in my next soon to release, and will be the follow-up to my current book out right now titled; “Addicted To Dimes”, (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat).

My current book is a ‘Non-fiction Memoir’ of my personal story of the how’s & why’s I became an addicted compulsive gambler, and the my rocky road to recovery. I share all of it! They say we can recover without learning WHY we became addicts in the first place, but I say this a lot that some of us do find out some of the Why’s of why we turned to addiction.
So I hope this article I found explains a little about having a gambling addiction and alcoholism together. Many of us have dual addictions, and some of us on top of that battle Mental illness too like I do, but remember, “There is help and there is HOPE”!!
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Many Blessings To You,
Author, Catherine Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A