Alcohol, Drugs & Gambling
People tend to choose the substances that help them in some way, such as increasing pleasure, or decreasing emotional or physical pain. As alcohol and other drugs act directly on the central nervous system, they seem to be predictable and effective ways to change how a person feels - at least in the short-term.
Problems with alcohol and (legal or illicit) drugs come either because of what you do whilst under the influences of these substances or because of the long-terms effects. In the long-term, alcohol and drugs can be an issue if you need to take more to achieve the same effect, or they impact your functioning in a negative way.
Treatment for substance addiction may either look at ways you can replace the function of drugs and/or alcohol with other more healthy methods, to allow you to gradually reduce your intake. Or it might involve treatment of another mental health disorder which underlies the substance use.
People gamble for various reasons, to win money, to be sociable, to escape from problems, for something to do, for excitement or to avoid other issues. But of course, gambling has all kinds of other effects, such as financial loss, disruption in relationships, anxiety and depression, and so on. Treatment for gambling is similar to substance addiction – replace the need it fills or fix the underlying problems.