Gambling as The Way to Fight with Alcohol Addiction

Gambling as The Way to Fight with Alcohol Addiction

It is often thought that one of the ways to fight an addiction is to get something else to focus on. Well, this outlook may seem sane to a certain level. Usually, alcoholism develops when an individual tries to take off their mind from certain events. This habit was thought to help relieve post-traumatic stress. However, the habit does more harm than good to these individuals.Alcohol addiction has no limit to how bad things can get. So there is not a single plan to cure alcoholism. Therefore, depending on the individual with the alcohol problem, they have to seek out different methods to fight against their addiction. One of these methods is by getting another hobby like gambling.

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It should not come as surprising that gambling itself has several cons compared to the few pros, making it as unsuitable as taking alcohol. However, in this article, we shall take a look at what alcohol addiction stands for, the various gambling habits that can be developed, ways by which gambling can go wrong, and more. 

Alcohol Addiction

Tentatively, alcohol addiction is a critical relapsing disorder associated with compulsive alcohol drinking. Gradually, the control over intake begins to reduce. It does not end there, as the prevention of intake over a certain period would lead to the emergence of a negative emotional condition.

The lack of ability to control alcohol intake despite the social, occupational, and health hazards that result from it, is referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). This disorder occurs in levels or stages, leading to it being referred to as a spectrum disorder. So, the description of alcohol addiction would refer to moderate to severe levels on the AUD spectrum. Alcohol addiction, either moderate or severe, is a severe condition, and it should not be taken with levity. 

The Development of Alcohol Addiction in the Brain

Any addiction whatsoever is caused by the effect of the recurring habit on the brain. Just like any other substance or drug, alcohol has a submissive effect on the functioning and utilisation of the brain. This effect may cause unusual levels of pleasurable or negative feelings. However, this effect causing these feelings then leads to individuals coming back to these habits from time to time until it becomes unbearable. 

For instance, individuals may often turn to drinking to cope with the stress of work. However, the use of alcohol may substantiate for a while, but gradually, with recurring habits, it may become a problem for this individual. The advent results in drinking for other reasons, causing the person to get stuck in a bad cycle of alcohol intake. This cycle would cause certain changes in the structure and function of the brain. This change could cause the transition from a controlled habit of consumption to uncontrollable chronic misuse. These changes may be difficult to correct and may persist even after alcohol consumption ends, thus contributing to the probability of a relapse back into drinking habits. 

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The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction

The stages in this repetitive cycle of addition would be three in number. It is a stem-kind of a cycle as each stage is connected. This assertion points to the fact that you have to pass through a phase to get to another. However, these phases primarily involve three separate domains, including

  • Incentive Salience;
  • Negative Emotional States;
  • Executive Function.

Likewise, these levels are associated with different areas of the brain. These brain regions include:

  • The Basal Ganglia;
  • The Extended Amygdala;
  • Prefrontal Cortex.

So to say, the Incentive Salience state occurs in the Basal Ganglia. Likewise, the Negative Emotional States progress in the Extended Amygdala, and Executive Function occurs in the Prefrontal Cortex.

Individuals may progress through these stages in a matter of weeks or months, depending on how critical the situation is and how fast things get worse. However, interestingly, an alcoholic may have entered into this AUD cycle through any one of these stages. Regardless of what stage, the link-up eventually occurs. The phases are exemplified below.

Binge/Intoxication Phase

At this stage of AUD, an individual experiences a fulfilling and rewarding effect of the intake of alcohol. These feelings could come in the form of euphoria, anxiety reduction, and lower levels of social interactions. The recurring activation of the basal ganglia reward system causes a stay-in-habit issue, causing a repetitive habit of consumption. This section of the brain strangely motivates the formation of habits, among other supporting behaviour. However, the function of this brain section also extends to how an individual would respond to specific individuals, or players, among other stimuli that may be associated with the drinking habit. As time goes on, the state of intake progresses to absurd levels.

Withdrawal Phase

The withdrawal stage occurs when an individual tries to put an end to drinking habits. At this stage, severe withdrawal symptoms are experienced. These symptoms would be the opposite of whatever positive effect the intake of alcohol may have given to the person. The adverse withdrawal effects would include sleep deprivations and disturbance, an absurd level of anxiety, illness, dysphoria, high irritability levels, and severe emotional pain. These adverse effects may have resulted from two different complications. It could have been through the depletion in the level of activation in the basal ganglia, thus causing effects opposed to the pleasurable feelings it ought to offer. Another complication could have risen from the activation of the stress centre in the brain, which is the extended amygdala, which in turn causes a high level of anxiety, irritability, and uncomfortably. So, an individual that has reached this stage in the AUD spectrum does not drink for the pleasurable feeling anymore but rather as an escape from the adverse symptoms that may arise from not taking alcohol.

Anticipation Phase

This stage comes into play after an individual has managed to stay away from alcohol for a certain period. However, at this stage, a person may become obsessed with returning to alcoholism once again. The area of the brain responsible for this stage is the prefrontal cortex. This area coordinates executive functions such as organisation, task prioritising, time management, and decision making.

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All of these functions may become compromised at this stage for individuals experiencing the advent of AUD. So, the prefrontal cortex plays a focal role in the preoccupation stage, causing impulsiveness and intense craving for alcohol.

Using Gambling Habits to Cure Alcohol Addictions

There are several forms of gambling habits to take on when trying to cure alcohol addictions. These habits could range from sports gambling to casino gambling. Other forms would be taking up habits of participating in TV show games such as lottery, keno, and bingo games. 

Gambling could take effect primarily in two phases in the cycle of AUD. These phases would be the withdrawal and anticipation stages. In the withdrawal stage, when there is a depletion in the level of activation in the basal ganglia, gambling habits may act as a decoy to trick this part of the brain into creating pleasurable responses, just like what alcohol intake would have caused.

Also, in the anticipation stage, individuals may take up gambling habits to prevent a relapse into alcohol. So, instead of the increased level of obsession with taking alcohol once again, you would have a backup that could help to trick the prefrontal cortex into submission. However, there are different structures and categories of gambling. There are several sports gambling websites or establishments where you are allowed to place bets and win back in real money while enjoying the ecstatic feeling that comes with winning.

Likewise, casino gambling takes gambling to a new level. You may either visit a redbrick casino or stick with an online mobile casino platform. There are top casino or gambling platforms that allow players access to free gaming options. These platforms are rigged with the best bonuses, be it deposit or no-deposit offers. Also, you can access information related to free slot games with distinguishing themes, as well as an interactive User Interface, with exquisite designs. You can choose to play for free when it comes to slot games and enjoy the gameplay without any risks to your own finances. 

The table below highlights the categories of casino games, and best software providers, with top examples of each:

Casino Game Categories Top Software Providers Top Examples
Online Slots NetEnt, Play’n Go, Yggdrasil, Microgaming, Playson, etc. Elvis Frog in Vegas, Ancient Gods, Ocean Treasures, Arrogant Pirates, Dig Dig Digger, etc.
Table/Card Games Playtech, Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, etc. Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, Poker, etc.
Fast Games/Game shows Ezugi, 1×2 Gaming, Belatra, Nucleus, etc. Football Studio, Sic Bo, Monopoly, Keno, Bingo, etc.
Live Casino games Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, Platech, etc. Live table games, fast games, and game shows.

Resulting in Gambling to Curb Alcoholism May Result in Adverse Effects 

In basic terms, gambling acts involve taking risks on staking a substance of value in the hope of winning another substance of a different or the same kind with greater value. Gambling is often a common habit across all walks of life. However, people may develop addictions or disorders from gambling too much. So it may not be the best idea to result in gambling when trying to curb alcoholism.

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A gambling disorder disrupts so many parts of an individual’s life, just like how alcohol would. If you need to know if you are addicted to gambling, you will start to have an urgent need to keep gambling or taking greater risks in a bid to recover from a serial stretch of losses. In other terms, gambling addiction could also be termed ‘’chasing one’s losses’’. Resulting in gambling would mean running from one addiction to the possibility of another.

The Connection Between Gambling and Alcohol Addictions

There has been an establishment of the connection between gambling and alcohol, going hand in hand as disorders of their own. There is a high possibility of developing gambling addictions from existing alcohol addictions. According to a survey carried out in the United States, it was discovered that alcohol addiction is the most frequently reported condition that goes along with gambling disorders. This is enough reason to show that going into gambling in a bid to cure alcohol addictions is a very bad idea. 

About 80% of people in this survey were diagnosed with gambling addiction alongside AUD. Also, the relationship between these two subjects may attenuate by environmental circumstances that may relate to them. One of the commonest instances would be the serving of alcohol at redbrick casinos. So naturally, these two problems have always co-existed around us.

Also, there has been a strange pattern among people who are diagnosed with alcohol disorders, which is the development of gambling problems, even for those in the recovery stage. Another strange interconnection between gambling and alcohol with the use of alcohol to celebrate wins or cope with losses from gambling. You can not escape one by running into the other.

Other Alternative Routes to take to Curb Alcohol Addictions

There is a long list of program options to help people cope with alcohol disorders and addictions. However, these programs are not full assurances to get out of these issues. Regardless, they are a better option, rather than incurring another form of addiction on one’s self in a bid to run from another. 

However, these programs are more effective for certain individuals than others. You may cross-try these programs to see which one fits you best. The most common programs to code with alcohol addictions and possibly gambling addictions would include:

  • 12-step programs: A famous example would be Gamblers Anonymous. The program comprises 12 levels. Individuals within this program choose a sponsor who has recently recovered from gambling or alcohol addiction. These sponsors serve as guides and support.
  • Outpatient programs: The locations for these programs include clinics, hospitals, and other medical-related places. In these programs, they offer various types of therapy sections, including cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing. 
  • Inpatient programs: These programs offer safe and supervised recovery environments. This type of treatment comprises individual and group therapy. For alcohol addicts, inpatient detoxification is often needed to relieve or prevent the pain of withdrawal symptoms.

Our Verdict

It is often thought that gambling could be the saviour of alcohol addiction, but it turns out that this action could prove even more deadly than thought. However, it is advisable to seek alternative means rather than using gambling as a means to curb alcohol addiction.