Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Found the cause of boyfriends addiction

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    Anna Bay

    Some background – my boyfriend has had various addiction is use since his teens. He was an active alcoholic who got into treatment and recovery ten years ago. He had a solid seven years clean and sober.

    He had been diagnosed with ADHD as a child , and had been on medication. He had always had trouble with focus, getting things done, etc. . He had increasing responsibilities at work but was having difficulty because of the adhd. So he went to his doctor who prescribed medication. Shortly after he started gambling. At first only a little bit, and their were other stressful things going on, so it wasn’t a big deal. But, as you all know, overtime it only gets worse. He ended up becoming a compulsive gambler who ran up huge debts, spent every paycheck on poker and basically lost everything.

    He would occasionally go to GA meetings, and tried all the usual ways of restricting access – which he always found ways around.
    This went on for a couple of years – getting worse and worse. And with all the typical blaming and fighting and justifying and vows to quit and depression.

    Then he ran out of his ADHD medication. And he stopped gambling. He didn’t do it intentionally. He had forgotten to refill his prescription and then his Dr. was out of town. So he went two weeks without pills. And in those weeks he didn’t go to the casino once. After going at least every other day. Even After payday. He said it was like the compulsion was just gone. He said he still had thoughts about gambling, but it wasn’t an overwhelming drive.
    Fortunately he made the connection of the medication and the gambling before he got his refill!

    Over the next couple of months he only gambled twice more. Once after he had found a leftover pill in his nightstand and took it before having to perform a difficult work assignment. And once after an argument. And both those times he says he got there and left after spending only a little money and realizing how stupid it was.

    There is so much wreckage to try to get past! I don’t know if he’ll ever climb out of the financial hole. But the difference is amazing. It’s like the compulsive, nasty, addictive behavior just vanished.

    So I know it’s not something anyone has heard of – we sure hadnt! But if the gambler in your life is taking stimulant medication for ADHD please consider a trial of no- medication to see if it helps. Talk to your Doctor first of course. But it was truly amazing the impact going off that medication has had.

    nomore 56

    Hi Anna,
    there might be some truth to your observation. Now this is just something that is starting to emerge as part of the physiological issues involved in cg. some researchers here in the US found that Parkinson’s patients who are treated with a medication that increases the Dopamine level in the brain developed a gambling addiction that vanished once they were taken off the meds. There is no real proof so far but they might be on to something. Dopamine plays a role in cg, at least that is what some of the psych experts believe. Every person, every condition is different so who can tell what is going on. But I agree with you, there is a pill for everything in this country and people love to take them without paying enough attention to the side effects. Or knowing enough about it of course. I’m very happy for you two that in your bf’s case it worked out!!!!!

    Anna Bay

    Yes, what’s interesting is we had heard about the side effects for some drugs of increasing compulsive behaviors . But it wasn’t mentioned for his ADHD medication. He had even asked about its impact on addiction in general, because he is in recovery for alcoholism. But the Dr. reassured him it wouldn’t be a problem! What concerns me is I know so often in treatment people start to address underlying mental health issues – which can lead to medications like the one my boyfriend was prescribed. Wouldn’t it be awful if lots of people’s inability to refrain from their addictions was due to trying to get help to function better???

    nomore 56

    Hi again Anna,
    this is a real problem here in the states at least. Everyone has mood swings and tah dah, you must be bipolar. And take medications. My hb was prescribed said pills after he relapsed the last time. The VA psych Dr. put him on bipolar meds. After a conversation of less than an hour. No assessment, nothing. Ignoring the facts that he has an autoimmune disease that damages his liver. I call that irresponsible. Of course people who really suffer from any mental health conditions need appropriate help. But many don’t need it really. And pills are cheaper than a lengthy therapy. Been there, done that, got the tshirt :).
    A lot of drs also are not aware of the correlation between certain psychotropic meds and human behavior. The dopamine issue is fairly new and they are just at the beginning. Being from Europe, I do not believe in the culture of giving chemicals to just everyone, kids or adults, who don’t fit the perfect mold and are not streamlined. JMHO of course. There a lot of certified counselors for cg and other addictions in this country who are oblivious to a lot of very important facts.
    And it turned out that my hb is not bipolar. It was the addiction and nothing else. Addictions of all kinds, especially cg are really good at mimicking mental health problems. It would be interesting to see if your bf ever gets the urge to gamble again without taking meds.




    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

    Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

    If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your
    situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our

    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!


    Hi Anna
    Thank you for your post, I hope you will use this forum for any support you may want with your boyfriend’s addiction.
    As a site we cannot comment on drugs making people susceptible to impulse control issues – such comments should only be directed to medical professionals.
    The issues you and Nomore have raised are not new and the GT team is aware of them, they are often raised on the site – I hope, therefore, you will appreciate that we cannot endorse such discussions because speculating without the required medical expertise and knowledge would be wrong..
    Please keep posting

    Anna Bay

    Hi Velvet,

    I’m sorry I’m confused. Do you mean that you and the staff people can’t comment about any issues that might be related to medication and it’s possible impact? Or that it’s not an allowed topic of conversation on the forum?

    If it’s the former that makes sense, of course. If it’s the later that seems…..odd


    Hi Anna

    We’re not able to comment on medication as we’re not medical practitioners. You are free to talk about anything that helps you to better understand problem gambling and anything that helps you with your own personal journey.


    Anna Bay

    I’m sorry I’m still confused by ” we” can’t comment, you mean it’s not an allowed topic? I’ve never heard of such a restriction on any forum – so that’s why I’m unsure if that’s really what is being said. It seems very, very unusual if it is. I can’t fathom the reasoning behind not allowing adults to discuss a topic that related to the primary issue simply because they aren’t the professionals. Presumably the vast majority of posters also aren’t professional counselors but disuse coping strategies.


    I think the ‘we’ indicates the Gambling Therapy team of Staff and volunteers – the members of the team cannot offer medical advice/opinion, not being medically qualified. People who post may of course express their own opinions, as personal opinions, and describe their personal experiences.
    Best wishes,


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