Addiction Recovery Posted On

Did you know that gambling can become an addiction, just like alcohol and drugs?  People in recovery can be unaware of this and may simply transfer their addiction from one activity to another (i.e. drinking to gambling).  Gambling addiction and alcohol addiction hijack the same reward systems in the brain.  This is why the DSM-5 officially classifies gambling as an addiction.  

Knowledge is power!

People in recovery need to know what to do to ensure true recovery from alcohol addiction.  If left unaware of the potentially addictive consequences involved in gambling, they may choose to gamble as a replacement for alcohol or their drug of choice..  This is why we strive to raise awareness of problem and disordered gambling; we want to prevent addiction to gambling and assist those struggling with gambling addiction in seeking help.  

How does this affect you?

Knowing this allows you to be more aware and help yourself, or someone you know, maintain  success in recovery.  During recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, people may work on developing an awareness of the negative consequences of drinking and using drugs, but also need to be aware of the potential consequences that gambling addiction can bring.  

Remember that disordered gambling is a hidden addiction, meaning that those struggling may be struggling without anyone knowing.  You can’t smell or see evidence of gambling addiction as with some other addictions (i.e. alcohol addiction).  Gambling can take place online without ever leaving home, and the repercussions can be overwhelming before family and friends realize how bad the gambling addiction has affected their lives.

Some consequences of gambling addiction include:

  • Loss of trust from loved ones
  • Financial problems at home
  • Loss of employment
  • Increased emotional distress
  • Increased suicidal thoughts

Action steps YOU can take:

  • Have open conversations about gambling behavior.  If you or a loved one is in recovery from alcohol addiction, make sure that gambling is discussed as it can prohibit successful recovery from addiction.  
  • Educate yourself.  The more you know about gambling addiction, the better decisions you can make regarding your choices of whether or not to engage in gambling.
  • Talk with others about gambling addiction to help raise awareness.  The more we talk about gambling addiction, the more people will be aware of it, and seek help if needed
  • Contact the New York State HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (or 1-877-846-7369).  A trained clinician is awaiting your call 24/7!