Dual Recovery: Effective Treatment for Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Gambling and alcohol addiction treatment can be a life-changing step toward long-term recovery. Learn more about treatment in this guide.

Table of Contents

How are Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Connected?

Gambling and alcohol addiction are like two faces of the same coin, each reflecting similar struggles. A PGA study investigated how alcohol problems and other addictions are linked.1

This study found that if someone struggles to control their drinking, they might also have trouble with gambling. Also, gambling and alcohol addiction share many similarities.

Understanding the Interconnectedness of Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Research shows that many people who have problems with gambling also have issues with drinking. One study found that over 73% of individuals with a gambling problem also had issues with alcohol.2

Drinking alcohol can make someone gamble more and make poor choices. Additionally, people with gambling addiction tend to drink more alcohol in gambling places where alcohol is easily accessible. This association shows that these two problems can feed off each other in complex ways.

Here are some of the effects they have in common:

Loss of Control

Both gambling and alcohol addiction involve difficulty in controlling or limiting one’s behavior. Some people may be unable to stop gambling or drinking once they start. This behavior can occur even if the individual has a strong desire or intention to stop.


People with gambling and alcohol addiction become preoccupied with their vices. They may spend most of their time thinking about gambling or drinking. They may also spend a lot of time planning the next time they can drink or gamble.


Both addictions can lead to developing their tolerance. In gambling, this may involve betting larger sums of money to experience the same level of excitement. 


With alcohol addiction, individuals may need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same level of intoxication.

Withdrawal Symptoms

While alcohol addiction is more associated with physical withdrawal symptoms, some individuals with gambling addiction may experience emotional or psychological symptoms. Some symptoms include restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and depression.

Negative Consequences

Gambling and alcohol addictions can have negative consequences in various areas of life. Financial problems, strained relationships, declining work or academic performance, and legal issues are examples of the negative impact of these addictions.

What You Need to Know about Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Dual addiction, or co-occurring addiction, refers to two or more addictions in an individual’s life. In the case of gambling and alcohol, these addictions can interact and reinforce each other, making treatment more complicated.

Knowing how to deal with gambling and alcohol addiction treatment can be challenging due to the complex nature of the two addictions.

What Are the Challenges of Treating Dual Addiction?

Treating dual addiction can be challenging for healthcare professionals. One challenge is the complexity of addressing multiple addictive behaviors at the same time. Each addiction may have its own triggers, underlying factors, and treatment needs.

Additionally, the interactions between the addictions can complicate the recovery. In some cases, one addiction can potentially trigger or reinforce the other. Coordinating treatment approaches and providing comprehensive support are essential for gambling and alcohol addiction treatment.

Psychological Factors

Dual addiction can be linked to more serious mental health issues. Research has shown that people with gambling problems often also struggle with depression, anxiety, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. This factor can be true for both teenagers and adults.3

Physical and Mental Health Problems

Gambling and alcohol addiction can have physical and mental health problems. For instance, chronic alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage, cardiovascular problems, and other serious health issues. 

Similarly, gambling addiction can cause financial strain, legal consequences, and relationship problems.

Effective Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Approaches for Dual Addiction

Treating individuals who struggle with both gambling and substance misuse can be complicated. 

Addressing only one problem at a time is ineffective, as some people may transition between different treatments without experiencing improvement. It is crucial to recognize the relationship between these two addictions for successful outcomes.

Gambling and alcohol addiction treatment strategies target both disorders by ensuring a holistic and tailored approach to their recovery. Here are some methods incorporated into treatment:

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

This method tackles both gambling and alcohol addiction at the same time. Dual diagnosis treatment provides individuals with coping skills, relapse prevention strategies, and a supportive environment that addresses the challenges of the two addictions.

A team of addiction specialists, therapists, and mental health professionals collaborates to develop personalized treatment plans. This approach combines therapy, counseling, and support groups into their treatment plan.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people identify and change thoughts and behaviors that can lead to gambling and alcohol addiction. This therapy can teach individuals how to cope with their triggers through practical coping mechanism skills.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a unique type of treatment that encourages talking and working together. 


The patient is encouraged to set their own goals, which helps them feel in charge of their recovery. This approach can make a big difference in staying sober for a long time.

Main Steps of MI

Here are the four main steps of MI:

  1. Building Trust: In this step, a counselor establishes a collaborative relationship with the individual. The counselor uses active listening, empathy, and open-ended questions to understand the person’s perspective and build trust. This step aims to create a supportive environment where the individual feels heard and respected.
  2. Finding Focus: Once trust is established, the counselor and individual work together to identify specific behaviors or issues the person wants to address. Together, they prioritize the goals that are most important to the individual.
  3. Evoking Change: This step involves eliciting the individual’s motivations and reasons for change. The counselor uses various techniques to motivate the individual’s belief in their ability to change.
  4. Planning for Change: In the final step, the counselor works with the individual to develop a concrete action plan. They explore and discuss strategies, potential barriers, and support systems that can encourage change. This step focuses on creating a realistic and achievable plan to take steps toward their goals.

Support Groups

Joining support groups can offer a lot of help, especially in the context of gambling and alcohol addiction treatment. These groups give people a chance to share their experiences in their recovery. By hearing other stories, individuals can learn new ways to cope with their addiction.

The people in these support groups understand the struggle of addiction, so they offer each other the support that friends or family might be unable to offer. Support groups can provide tips about starting healthy habits, handling cravings, and more tools for long-term sobriety.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication can be prescribed to help with gambling and alcohol addiction treatment. Acamprosate can be prescribed to those who have stopped drinking to help restore certain chemicals in the brain that may have been disrupted by long-term alcohol use. Studies have shown that this medicine can help people avoid alcohol.4

Holistic Practices

Mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and stress reduction can also greatly help. These techniques support overall health and can help manage cravings, reduce anxiety, and improve emotional health.

Dual Diagnosis Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Gambling and alcohol addiction treatment often integrates therapeutic approaches by addressing both gambling and alcohol addiction together. These programs combine individual counseling, group therapy, and support groups to provide a complete support system.

Treating dual addiction involves a team of healthcare professionals. Working together, they ensure that all aspects of the person’s treatment are connected and comprehensive, providing the best possible support for recovery. Before starting this treatment, a healthcare professional will assess the individual.

A dual diagnosis assessment identifies and diagnoses both gambling and alcohol addiction, along with any other mental health issues that might be present. This assessment helps doctors and therapists create a treatment plan tailored to the individual’s needs. This assessment involves:


Screening is the first step in diagnosing co-occurring disorders. It looks at a person’s history, including their physical and mental health and any previous issues with substance abuse.


Sometimes, more specific tests are needed to identify certain mental health conditions. This thorough evaluation helps to get a clearer picture of the person’s situation and their relationship to their addictions.


It’s often hard to diagnose co-occurring disorders because symptoms can overlap. If a person is dealing with withdrawal from substances or using multiple substances, it can make diagnosis and treatment more complex.

Comprehensive Assessment Tools

Despite these challenges, some tools can help. These assessments look at all factors, including a person’s strengths, limitations, and cultural background, to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Benefits of Dual Recovery Treatment for Gambling and Alcohol Addiction

Dual recovery treatment for gambling and alcohol addiction can benefit those with dual substance misuse disorders. 

The approach provides a specialized technique that acknowledges the unique complexities of co-occurring gambling and alcohol addictions. This treatment offers a greater likelihood of successful recovery and improved quality of life.

Some of the key benefits include:

Holistic Care

Dual recovery approaches consider the complexities of gambling and alcohol addiction treatments. This treatment addresses not only the addictive behaviors but also the physical, psychological, and social aspects of their lives. 

A holistic approach promotes well-being and develops healthier coping mechanisms and lifestyle choices.

Simultaneous Progress

Dual gambling and alcohol addiction treatment allows individuals to work on both addictions together, promoting a more balanced and consistent recovery journey.

Improved Mental Health

Gambling and alcohol addiction treatments address underlying mental health issues that an individual may have. One type of treatment, called cognitive-behavioral (CB) techniques, was studied and found to help people feel less anxious and depressed, and decrease their gambling activity significantly.5

By integrating mental health services and therapies, individuals receive comprehensive care that aims to improve their overall well-being. This approach can help an individual maintain sobriety and manage their addictive behaviors.

What Makes a Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Effective?

Some factors can make a gambling and alcohol addiction treatment more successful. Individuals can enhance their treatment by actively participating in therapy, building supportive networks, and developing healthy coping skills to manage their triggers.

Here are some other examples of ways an individual can improve their treatment:

Motivation to Change

The success of gambling and alcohol addiction treatment often depends on a person’s desire and willingness to change. 

When someone is genuinely motivated to work on their recovery, the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes increases. A solid commitment to recovery can increase the likelihood of positive results.

A person’s commitment to recovery involves initial enthusiasm and ongoing dedication to maintaining sobriety. This commitment includes actively participating in therapy, engaging in self-reflection, and implementing the strategies and skills learned in treatment into daily life.

Support Networks

Having support from family, friends, or professionals can play a crucial role in gambling and alcohol addiction treatment. Support from loved ones can provide emotional encouragement and understanding, helping individuals feel less isolated during their recovery.

Family and friends can actively participate in recovery by attending therapy sessions together, learning about addiction and relapse prevention, and promoting a sober and supportive atmosphere.

Type of Treatment

The type of gambling and alcohol addiction treatment can greatly influence the long-term success of recovery. Treatments that address both addictions simultaneously and offer specific therapies are more effective for lasting sobriety.

Effective Coping Strategies

Finding better ways to handle problems is essential when recovering from gambling and alcohol addiction. Having new skills can help make the treatment more successful. 


This strategy could mean learning how to handle stress in a healthier way and dealing with the urge to gamble or drink.

Finding other activities that make a person feel good to replace their addictions can also improve the success rate of long-term recovery.

Understanding Triggers

Recognizing what causes a person to want to gamble or drink is crucial. Managing these triggers can help prevent relapses and make recovery more successful. 


Gambling and alcohol addiction treatment programs emphasize the importance of learning practical coping skills that can be used regularly.

Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Comprehensive Programs for Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

At J. Flowers Health Institute, we specialize in offering programs for gambling and alcohol addiction treatment. Our facility emphasizes the importance of dual diagnosis treatment and implements strategic approaches into our program.

We understand the complexities that come with gambling and alcohol addiction and provide comprehensive treatment that is specific to individual needs. By working together, we can help you or your loved one successfully take the first step toward recovery.

Understanding Our Approach to Gambling and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Our gambling and alcohol addiction treatment at Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, offers a safe and supportive environment for those recovering from addiction. Our multifaceted team of board-certified experts works diligently to find the root causes of addictions and to provide the highest quality care.

J.Flowers Health Institute helps individuals struggling with gambling and alcohol addiction find the right support during their recovery. We offer effective individual therapy and supportive group sessions that foster a positive setting for lasting sobriety.

Our facility recognizes the physical, psychological, and social challenges that come with recovery and aim to address any underlying factors of addiction through a holistic approach. By establishing a trusting relationship, healthcare professionals can encourage individuals to make the necessary changes for long-term recovery.

Your Journey to Better Health Begins Here

At the J. Flowers Health Institute, we specialize in customized gambling and alcohol addiction treatment. Contact us today if you’re ready to take a step toward better health and a brighter future.