Problem Gambling and Alcohol Awareness Posted On

April is Alcohol Awareness Month.  People who struggle with alcohol addiction may also be struggling with problem gambling.  Learn about the risks of gambling while in recovery from alcohol abuse and what you can do.

Alcohol Abuse and Problem Gambling

Problem gambling can be a devastating disorder for so many people.  Many times, gambling may not be a stand-alone addiction.   Studies show that problem gambling may be occurring at the same time as another problem, such as alcohol abuse. 

Illustration to show percent of alcohol use disorder

In one study, 73% of people diagnosed with a gambling disorder also had an alcohol use disorder.  That means, nearly 3 of every 4 people struggling with problem gambling may have a problem with alcohol abuse.  The connection between the two can be found elsewhere.  For example, many advertisements for gambling have alcohol use imagery, and many establishments that offer gambling opportunities also serve alcohol. 

Risks of Gambling While In Recovery

Many people who struggle with alcohol abuse seek help.  While seeking help, they may choose to replace their drinking activities with new activities.  One activity they may be drawn to is gambling.  While they may think this is a safe alternative to drinking, those in recovery may not realize that they are more likely to struggle with problem gambling then the general population.  This is because gambling triggers the same reward center of the brain as alcohol abuse.  Therefore, switching from alcohol abuse to gambling can lead to problem gambling.

Those struggling with or in recovery from alcohol use disorder, or any other addiction, should avoid gambling.  Gambling can lead back to a relapse of alcohol abuse.  Although someone may be refraining from drinking, gambling may act as an addictive substitute.  Gambling may act as a substitute until the person decides they want to drink again.  Now the person, who was trying to seek recovery from alcohol abuse, is struggling with two addictions. Alcohol abuse and problem gambling, which can make recovery much harder.

What You Can Do

Anyone interested in helping someone struggling with a possible gambling problem should try to learn as much about problem gambling as they can.  Learn why problem gambling is referred to as the hidden addiction.  Learn how to stay safe from problem gambling while in recovery, and why it’s important.  There is also a lot to gain by watching our videos on problem gambling.

Alcohol Awareness Month is a wonderful time to learn about opportunities to help those in need, such as those struggling with alcohol and gambling problems. For more information about local services and treatment options, you can contact your local Problem Gambling Resource Center.  Help is rapidly expanding across New York State, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

We hope you have a happy and safe April.