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April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol and Gambling Are a Potent Cocktail, Says The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a national effort by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism and encourage community members to start conversations about alcohol addiction. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey joins the national conversation this month by drawing attention to the interaction between alcohol addiction and problem gambling. A better understanding of both diseases and the reduction of stigmas around them will help those who struggle with gambling disorders to seek help and support, leading to a higher likelihood of recovery.

Alcohol dependency can be a co-occurring disorder with problem gambling. Many casinos offer free alcoholic beverages to players on the floor, which can loosen inhibitions and cloud rational thinking. Alcohol can be a trigger for recovering problem gamblers to relapse into disordered gambling, and the two disorders are also linked in that individuals with a prior history of alcohol dependency may subsequently develop a gambling problem. Similarly, problem gamblers may celebrate a win or alleviate loss-induced depression with alcohol, thus creating a strong interaction pattern between the two addictions.

Additionally, there are many notable similarities between disordered gambling and chemical dependency on alcohol or other drugs like cocaine. These similar characteristics include depression, the use of addiction to cope with personal issues, job problems, withdrawal symptoms and an inability to stop even when attempts to quit are made. However, people struggling with an addiction to gambling also encounter issues particular to their disordered behavior that must be addressed by a professional who specializes in problem gambling. One of the most crucial differences is that gambling addiction is known as an “invisible disease,” because there can be few outward signs and symptoms of this particular disordered behavior.

Problem gamblers do not have to struggle in invisibility and silence. With the help of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, NJ residents struggling with gambling addiction, with or without substance abuse, can find the support, gambling treatment and hope in Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey that they need to recover from disordered gambling. Resources like the Council’s toll-free, confidential, 24/7 hotline and Gamblers Anonymous meetings in NJ can provide problem gamblers with the compassionate, professional support that they need to regain control of their lives. Individuals who need help for their own or a loved one’s gambling can call 1-800-GAMBLER at any time for immediate assistance.