Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Gambling and alcohol addiction treatment should be treated together as a dual disorder. A major study was done in 2002 (and published in Alcohol Research and Health) that proved that problematic gambling was more common in people with alcohol abuse or dependence issues.  The study suggested that people who were not addicted to alcohol were less likely to become addicted to gambling and investigated the idea that there was no broadly accepted explanation for the concurrence of these two problems in one person.

Common factors that lead to alcohol addiction treatment seem to be present in a gambling disorder. For instance decreased function in the brain may be responsible for both conditions. Brain imaging has shown that both disorders seem to appear in people with similar brain sizes.  There may also be a genetic linkage that would encourage the disorders to coexist together.

This study also showed that gamblers were 3.8 times more likely to drink than non-gamblers.  The risk for drinkers to gamble was four times higher than those who were not drinkers. Out of 100 patients studied with alcohol dependency fourteen percent also suffered from a gambling problem.  A similar large study in Australia found that 48 percent of alcoholics also seemed to have a gambling problem at one point in their life.

Yet another disturbing finding of this study was that 20% of recovered alcoholics tended to develop a gambling habit after being released from alcoholic addiction treatment. The implication of this is that one habit (gambling) might be substituting for the other (drinking) once the person has unit.

As this study is now a decade old yet still one of the few reputable studies done on a dual gambling and alcohol addiction diagnosis there are now alcohol addiction treatment centers that exist that also help the addict deal with a tendency to gamble.