How to Help a Loved One Who Has a Gambling Addiction

January 9, 2024 by No Comments

Gambling is the act of risking something of value on an event that is at least in part determined by chance, with the intent to win something else of value. While some forms of gambling may seem more harmless than others, such as placing a bet on a sporting event or buying lottery tickets, all gambling involves putting money at risk and has the potential to lead to harmful gambling behavior.

Some people can overcome a problem with gambling without professional help, but many require some form of treatment or recovery support to address their issues. Depending on the severity of a person’s problem, various types of therapy may be helpful, including psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapies. Inpatient or residential treatment and rehab programs are also available for those whose problem is severe enough to warrant round-the-clock care.

How to help a loved one who has a gambling addiction

Dealing with a friend or family member who suffers from problem gambling can be very stressful. If the gambler is unable to control their urges, they may spend money they don’t have or hide evidence of their gambling activity. They may even start stealing to fund their habit or lie about how much they’re spending. This can cause significant problems for other members of the household, and if left unchecked can lead to a variety of criminal activities such as fraud, embezzlement, identity theft and money laundering.

A number of factors can contribute to a person developing a gambling disorder, including genetic predisposition, family history, trauma and social inequalities. Additionally, it has been found that a combination of psychological and environmental influences can provoke gambling disorder. These include sensation-seeking, novelty-seeking, arousal and the availability of money and prizes.

Often, gambling is used as a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions or to relieve boredom. However, it’s important to learn healthier and more effective ways to manage moods or find entertainment. Exercise, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and practicing relaxation techniques are all great alternatives.

It can be hard to recognise a problem when it’s your own gambling behaviour that causes problems, but it is possible to change. Try to be more aware of the triggers that cause you to gamble, and consider seeking support from a peer support group such as Gamblers Anonymous.

You can also seek family and individual therapy to work through any underlying issues that may be contributing to your addiction. You can also take over managing the household finances to ensure that you are not at financial risk, and consider taking up a new hobby or interest that will distract you from your urges. Finally, try to build a strong support network and consider entering into a recovery program such as Gamblers Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, which use a 12-step programme to support recovery from gambling disorder. These groups can offer valuable advice and guidance from other gamblers who have successfully beaten their addictions. They can also provide a supportive environment and help you to rebuild your relationships.