A gambling addiction can be difficult to handle, especially if the person who has the problem is committed to hiding it. Many partners only find there is an issue when something catastrophic happens such as problem with the finances or an addict getting involved in crime to get the money for their next bet.
Gambling has become so much easier nowadays. Everyday our TVs bombard us with ads for bookmakers while also advising us to gamble safely. You can put bets on anytime, anywhere using a smart phone – something that is an absolute boon for problem gamblers who usually have a highly compulsive nature.
If you think that someone in your family or a friend has a gambling addiction, the sooner you tackle the issue and get them back in control, the better. Problem gamblers don’t care about losing money, their fix is putting on a bet in the hope of that big win and families can get hurt when it all gets out of control. Gambling is all too often linked to drinking and it’s not unusual for someone to have a mix of addictions that can be difficult to sort out and treat.
Approaching a Gambling Addict
You may be furious that your partner has just bet your savings on a horse race and lost it all but getting angry is not going to solve the issue. Yes, gamblers make the choice of putting on a bet but it’s a compulsive behaviour that is just as difficult to resist as a drug or drink.
It’s important to stay calm and supportive when you broach the subject of someone’s gambling addiction and offer your help. While this is more difficult to do than say, doing some research beforehand will help. Once you know how damaging a gambling habit is for the addict then you can, hopefully, begin to see it from their point of view.
Planning to Quit Gambling
As long as the individual agrees, then tackling the gambling addiction requires to a plan to be in place. This could include taking control of the finances or making sure that friends and family don’t lend the person money which they can then use to bet with. There’s also the issue of avoiding places where gambling is a temptation. Nowadays that also includes the internet and smartphones and tablets.
Once you have those rules in place it’s a question of making sure they get enforced. This can be a challenge as you are dealing with an emotional and even physical need that can be difficult for the addict to ignore.
Getting Professional Help
Gambling is a compulsion. The person simply has to do it for one reason or another. Either they’ve learned this bad habit and it’s built up over time or they have an underlying issue that gambling relieves. One treatment processes that has been shown to work well with gambling addictions is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This process is specifically designed to break a habit and help an individual essentially rewire their thoughts.
Having said that, gambling addiction, like other addictions, is a complex problem and no one person is exactly the same. Getting help from a qualified psychotherapist can help explore the deeper issues for a particular behaviour, especially important for those who are deep into their addiction.
Getting over any problem like this is a tough process and continued support both from family and friends as well as professional services is vital. There will undoubtedly be moments when your friend or family member stumbles and puts on a bet or heads for the online slot machines, but you should never give up trying to help. Compassion and patience on the part of a loved one can go a long way when it comes to addictions such as this.