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Gambling Withdrawal: How Do You Cope With It?

We typically associate withdrawal symptoms, both physical and mental, with disordered substance use. In these instances, your body becomes accustomed to the presence of a particular chemical, adapts to it, and eventually depends on it. At this point, you need the substance to feel normal, and when you try to go cold turkey or even cut back, your system senses an imbalance — an often unpleasant onslaught that drives many back to the substance in question. While not all substance use disorders bring about the same exact withdrawal, therein lies a commonality in undesirable symptoms for many, including headaches, tremors, and nausea. Withdrawal from substances can also lead to behavioral or mental impacts ranging from irritability to depression.

However, running this gauntlet isn’t always the result of stopping the disordered use of alcohol or another substance  — changing problem behaviors can have withdrawal symptoms.

Gambling on My Mind

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is only partially physical, as there are additional factors that affect the brain. Using involves habit and ritual — people tend to use and do things in a particular fashion. Each time these behaviors are repeated, an itch is scratched. Your brain releases dopamine in anticipation that craving will soon be satisfied — a mechanism not unlike the one problem gambling behaviors bring to the surface upon quitting.

Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Withdrawal

Emotional gambling symptoms can include depression (which may bring about feelings of loneliness, irregular sleep patterns, or loss of interest in daily activities), anxiety, and insomnia. These symptoms can have physical effects on the body, including everything from muscle soreness and chest tightening to heart palpitations and difficulty breathing.

However, the intensity of any symptoms depends on the individual — how much stress they are under, financial standing, family history, general health, and much more. Regardless, those battling gambling withdrawal symptoms are at a crossroads with their recovery and could be unsure how to proceed.

What Can You Do About Gambling Withdrawal Symptoms?

The good news is that symptoms will eventually go away on their own. While they may be intense, almost too much to bear at points, they will not lead to death. There are various ways to cope, including exercise, diving into a productive hobby, and spending time with an encouraging support system. However, seeking treatment for problem gambling, like those who have struggled with disordered substance use and sought treatment, is advisable for profound, long-lasting change.

New Jersey residents seeking more information can contact our confidential helpline today at 800-GAMBLER. Rest assured that support, treatment, and hope are just one call away.


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