Addiction comes in many forms. Many substances and activities can be the subject of abuse. With April being Alcohol Awareness Month, we here at the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey feel that is important to illustrate the similarities between problem gambling and alcohol dependency to our readers.
Here are three things that alcoholism and problem gambling have in common:
- They are both addictions. Studies suggest that gambling addiction and substance addiction have very similar behavioral patterns. One study concluded that the same regions of the brain that are activated during alcohol cravings are also activated in video game addicts when they see images of computer games. Both issues can lead to financial losses, declining health, and relationship issues.
Sometimes drinking can lead to gambling, and vice versa. Many times drinking and gambling are done simultaneously. As inhibitions lower, your decisions can negatively be affected. This is why it is common to see people at a casino or sports book with an alcoholic beverage in their hand. The fact that beer and mixed drinks are free can lead to abuse, which in turn leads to potential bad decisions for a problem gambler.
- It affects friends, family, and loved ones too. It is helpful for addicts to have a solid support system to be there for them. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey is happy to provide brochures and other resources to help educate those affected by problem gambling. Alcoholics Anonymous also recommends that loved ones understand the disease to help anybody in need. 1-800-GAMBLER is a 24/7 confidential hotline that can put you in touch with the right people. Also, we allow you to text “800GAMBLER” to 53342 to receive the same resources confidentially.
- Many forms of help are available. Many people find that it is difficult to begin the process of recovering from disordered gambling or drinking. This is often because they do not have the right support. Recovering from an addiction is rarely something that a person can do on their own: Recovery requires outside resources and the support of family, friends, and professional help. New Jersey residents can visit 800GAMBLER.org to view resources on recovery and how to reach out to them. Similarly, there are many websites dedicated to supporting recovering alcoholics with their disease. Group help is available in the form of anonymous meetings for gamblers and alcoholics alike. Meetings are seven days a week and offer a judgment-free counseling environment.
Just remember, there is a solution. If you have an addiction, you do not have to feel this way forever. Help is right around the corner. If you need brochures (or links to other resources,) feel free to utilize our 24-hour online library (www.800GAMBLER.org) or to call or text our hotline to speak to a specialist.
Since gambling treatment centers in Atlantic City may be well known, the Council on Compulsive Gambling in NJ also focuses on gambling treatment in Marlboro Township, NJ, and its surrounding communities.