Concerned about someone close to you?
Like any addictive behaviour, the effects of problem gambling often stretch beyond the individual, impacting those closest to them both financially and emotionally. Unlike substance addictions such as drugs and alcohol, the signs of problem gambling can be more difficult to detect.
If you are concerned that a family member or friend has a gambling problem, here are some of the warning signs to look out for:
Try to encourage the problem gambler to seek help. But don’t force them. Pushing too hard can exacerbate the issue and may make it more difficult for them to come to you when they are ready to take action. They have to want and be ready to make the necessary changes.
Instead you should offer your support, inform them of their options and leave the rest to them. There are several excellent support organisations which specialise in helping people with problem gambling, as well as offering support and advice for those affected by a friend or family member’s problem gambling.
Don’t expect miracles. We all can feel a sense of shame, guilt or remorse and the road to recovery will contain plenty of speed bumps. It is normal to experience these emotions. By finding ways to help the problem gambler and to help yourself, you can minimise the imapct that gambling has on you. Changing behavioural patterns can take time. Identifying triggers and learning how to combat them going forward is all part of the process.