Your Family or Friends addicted Gambling?
Find out how you can help them.

How to help a gambling addict:

Friends and family members of those with gambling problems seldom have a good time. They often feel helpless and worried and spend most of their waking hours worrying about the problem gambler and wondering how to help him/her. If someone you love has fallen prey to gambling addiction, will tell you exactly how you can help him/her. You can carefully consider the following tips and pieces of advice. Have a look at Tips to Quit Gambling Addiction page to learn bit more about how you can help your friend or family.

Helping Children

Children of gambling addicts are the most bewildered lot as they find it very difficult to understand the strange changes in their parent’s behavior. A concerned friend or relative can easily take the kids under their wing and give them the emotional support they badly need.

Children of gambling addicts must be encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings and made to understand that they have nothing to do with the strange changes in their parents. The kids must be kept occupied to get their minds off these problems. Friends and relatives can provide funds for the children’s school excursions, education fees, medical expenses, and so on, but they should never give this money to the parents.

Convince Problem Gamblers to Seek Help

Friends of problem gamblers who have begun experiencing sadness, guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, and so on must try to convince them to seek help. They can escort the problem gambler or the gambling addict to a gambling counselor or a self-help group, which can either provide the help required or direct the problem gambler to a place where he/she can definitely get help.

More often than not, problem gamblers avoid friends and family members, in which case mediation and relationship counseling can be of great help. Relatives and friends can request a third party to act as a mediator so that help can finally reach the gambling addict.

Gambling Addicts Must Be Willing to Change

Friends and family members of problem gamblers and gambling addicts often find it difficult to understand that problem gamblers cannot be helped until and unless they are willing to admit that they have a problem and express the desire to change.

They might often feel frustrated about the gambling addict because he/she seems unwilling to cooperate with them. In such cases, they must first come to terms with their emotions as it will help them understand problem gamblers better, be more supportive, and give them the time they need to realize that they have a problem.

Understanding Signs of Problem Gambling

If you suspect that someone you love is getting addicted to gambling, you can make sure that they really have a problem if they continuously borrow money from others, sell or pawn their valuables, fail to pay their utility bills, have no money to purchase essentials such as food and clothes, lose their wallets or financial statements, and apply for loans in secret. People who have fallen prey to problem gambling are often moody and angry, anxious or depressed, keep away from friends and family members, avoid parties, tell lies, and no longer speak openly about their life.

If someone you love disappears for long hours without telling you anything about it, absents him/herself from the workplace or class, and no longer has time for essential day-to-day activities, you can take it for granted that the person has become a problem gambler.

The First Step

Once you are absolutely sure that the person you love is getting addicted to gambling, the first step is to talk to him/her about it. However, friends and relatives must be prepared for a wide range of reactions. Some problem gamblers are happy and relieved to talk about their problems while others completely deny that they have any problem. Some will be too ashamed and guilty to talk about it, while some will lose their temper.

Irrespective of the reaction, the concerned friends and relatives can assure problem gamblers that they care for them and are willing to help them. They can even guide them to places where they can get help and assure them that there are cures for gambling addiction. There is plenty of assistance such as helplines, gambling counselors, therapists, online and offline support groups, and so on available for problem gamblers and gambling addicts and their families.

© 2012