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Alcohol Awareness Month: Common Comorbidities with Gambling Disorders

Published: April 8, 2024

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a great time to learn more about the impact alcohol has on the health of our communities. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 140,000 people per year die from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), making it one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. 

A growing field of research is showing that AUD can often occur simultaneously with gambling disorder; one can often lead to the other. A study published in a book titled Neuroscience of Alcohol found that the alcohol dependency rate in gamblers is around 73 percent, and people who are experiencing alcohol dependency are at five to six times greater risk of developing a gambling disorder. Individuals experiencing problem gambling are three times as likely to experience alcohol or substance use dependency. When an individual is experiencing two diseases or medical conditions simultaneously, it is considered comorbidity. 

Joshua Grubbs, Ph.D., is an investigator at the Center on Alcohol, Substance Abuse, and Addictions and an Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Grubbs and his team are conducting research to understand and help Veterans who are experiencing gambling disorders and other disorders. According to a recent article published by Mirage News, adults who return from deployment, regardless of the location or branch of service, are uniquely at risk for developing substance use and gambling disorders.

Veterans who have served in the military are also at a higher risk of developing a gambling disorder. In Ohio, one out of five Veterans are at risk for developing a gambling disorder. 

It’s important to remember that no matter what you’re experiencing, you are not alone. For information about keeping gambling responsible among Veterans, check out the free Veterans Toolkit. It’s full of helpful educational resources to help spread awareness in your community. 

These conditions are serious and require the attention of a medical professional to diagnose and treat. If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about their gambling, don’t hesitate to call the Problem Gambling Helpline. Trained and understanding specialists are available 24/7 to offer free and confidential support with no strings attached. Call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741. 

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