People that develop a problematic relationship with gambling more than likely struggle with other behavioral disorders, as well. According to a recent study, over 73% of problem gamblers also suffer from disordered use of alcohol, marijuana, or other substances (colloquially referred to as “drug addiction” or “drug dependency”). Each type of behavioral disorder can lead to the other. Even worse, the disorders tend to exacerbate each other.
If disordered gamblers continually defer help for their gambling behavior, the consequences could be dire. However, if you or a loved one struggles with gambling, help is available wherever you live in NJ – whether Atlantic City, Trenton, Freehold, Woodbridge, or anywhere else.
Disordered gamblers often experience intense feelings of shame, guilt, and worthlessness. The stigma of “addiction” can be quite difficult to overcome. People typically associate so-called addiction with someone who has lost themselves in their dependence on marijuana or some other substance. However, the term “addiction” does not tell the whole story: people that develop a behavioral disorder (like substance use disorder or gambling disorder) would be better described as having an illness. This illness – like any other disease – should be treated by medical professionals.
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) strives to improve public knowledge of substance use disorders and problem gambling. Going to prison, bankruptcy, self-harming behaviors, and even suicide can all result if disordered gambling goes untreated. But with the resources available through our site and our hotline, 800-GAMBLER, disordered gamblers can find the support they need from peers and professionals to recover and transform their lives.
What Do Drug Use and Disordered Gambling Have in Common?
The irresponsible or illegal use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances shares many similarities with problem gambling. One may turn to alcohol, marijuana, or gambling to “self-medicate” as an attempt to distract themselves from difficult life circumstances or provide relief from mood disorders like depression or anxiety. Partaking in these substances or activities activates the brain’s reward system, causing people to feel a sense of pleasure. Unfortunately, the more people rely on substances and gambling to produce this sense of well-being, the less effective they become.
As individuals pursue this increasingly elusive “high,” they can develop one or more behavioral disorders. In their efforts to reproduce that fleeting sensation of euphoria, they may turn to other unhealthy substances or activities. This desperate search for relief often leads problem gamblers to develop substance use disorders and vice versa. Together, disordered substance use and gambling issues make mental health therapy more difficult. However, disordered gamblers that also struggle with alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs can recover with proper treatment.
How Can Treatment Help?
Thankfully, many of the treatments and therapies used to help disordered gamblers can also be effective for substance use disorders. Therapists frequently use cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients develop strategies for handling their moods and urges in healthier ways. Psychiatrists can also prescribe medications that treat anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders directly.
Residents of Camden, Vineland, Trenton, Parsippany, the Meadowlands area, and the surrounding communities can easily find assistance through the CCGNJ. Whether you are trying to schedule an appointment with a counselor or find the nearest Gamblers Anonymous meeting, we can help.
Support, Treatment, and Hope
The CCGNJ is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting disordered gamblers in any way possible. No matter how hopeless the situation may feel, recovery is possible. We frequently help disordered gamblers that live in the following communities and elsewhere throughout NJ:
- Monmouth County
- Meadowlands area
People sometimes refer to disordered gambling as the “hidden addiction.” Signs or symptoms of their illness can be difficult to spot or recognize. However, if you suspect that you or a loved one struggles with substance use and problem gambling, including sports betting in Monmouth County and casino gambling in Atlantic City, there is hope. Call or text our confidential hotline, 800-GAMBLER, today.