Gambling addiction stands on its own as a destructive habit. There are usually other underlying issues at play that can keep a person locked into addiction, including mental health disorders. Here are five things to be aware of and how to support a loved one that is struggling.
It is easy to miss the signs of depression with someone who gambles. While watching someone gamble, it can seem like high stakes, fun times, with lots of excitement thrown into the mix. Gamblers, however, often suffer from depression and other serious mood-related disorders. The number one mental health issue among gamblers is depression, which may or may not be present prior to the onset of the gambling addiction. Along with this, people who have co-occurring mental health disorders alongside gambling addiction may be more likely to entertain suicidal thoughts.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Gambling addiction frequently is partnered with a substance addiction. The high rates of substance abuse with gambling speaks to the link between disorders. The behavior and the psychology of gambling addiction suggest he underlying brain chemistry is related to alcohol and drug addiction, which is why they are often found together. There are often deficits in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, similar to the effects of drug use.
Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorders
Gamblers tend to be alone in their addiction. This explains the high rates of divorce and low satisfaction in marriages with pathological gamblers. The antisocial behavior is caused by personality disorders but also the need to hide the addiction from loved ones. There may be a genetic component, including shared neurochemistry that can increase the risk of gambling addiction.
Cortisol regulates stress hormones, reward-seeking, and several other aspects of behavior. Most people have as trong cortisol reaction to stimulation but gamblers do not. They have less sexual arousal and more interest in money. The brain lights up with monetary rewards and hormones play a large role in gambling addiction.
It may be the sedentary type of addiction that it is, but a higher body-mass index, poor cardiovascular health and an elevated risk of diabetes and stroke are often found in people with gambling addiction. A gambling habit can impact not only finances and relationships, but overall health, as well.
Paying attention to these symptoms can impact a person’s life for the better if it is brought to the person’s attention. It is best to seek out advice prior to confronting an individual with gambling addiction and pursuing that person with compassion and kindness. They may likely know they have a problem and need help finding support for the journey to recovery only a loved one can provide.
Serenity Oaks provides an intensive 5 week program to support your sobriety and recovery from addiction. We aim to provide a space where you can find out how and why you have struggled with addiction. Our therapeutic and medical support are just one of the tools we provide to help set you up for success in recovery. Call us to find out how we can help you get started: 844-720-6847.