Gambling and Addiction in “Sin City”

The city of Las Vegas, with its abundance of nightlife, is known as a popular destination to celebrate special occasions from bachelor parties to birthdays. However, when it comes to gambling and substance misuse “what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay in Vegas.”

Gambling and Substance Abuse

Compulsive gambling functions similarly to substance use disorder (SUD) in many ways; and just like SUD, these addictions can be similarly devastating to someone as well as their loved ones.

Like with SUD, individuals suffering from gambling addiction often persist even after their addiction costs them career opportunities, and relationships, or hinders their educational pursuits. People with gambling addictions also frequently gamble to escape feelings of anxiety, just as someone might use drugs or drink alcohol.

Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are extremely common with SUD—affecting approximately 50% of people with addiction to substances. Gambling is also similar in this regard. However, when someone has a gambling disorder, the most common comorbidity is SUD.

Substance misuse and gambling are also linked together in many instances. In Las Vegas especially, this connection is very apparent. The most common substance addiction linked with gambling is alcohol. These conditions often worsen each other largely due to the fact that alcohol and betting are usually available in the same venue. Alcohol and other substances lower inhibitions, which may lead someone to be cavalier with the amount they’re willing to gamble. In turn, someone may turn to substances to escape the anxiety and depression they may feel due to a significant financial loss.

When someone suffers from SUD and another mental disorder, it’s vital they undergo treatment for both simultaneously to achieve long-term success in recovery. Fortunately for people struggling with gambling addiction and SUD, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective at treating both. 12-step programs are also used to treat gambling, drug, and alcohol addictions.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, drugs, or gambling Desert Hope Treatment Center can help kickstart your recovery. The Las Vegas rehab center is equipped to treat SUD and co-occurring disorders simultaneously. Please reach out to an admissions navigator at to learn more.

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