How to Help Someone With a Gambling Addiction

4 min read
Apr 7, 2024 10:14:55 AM

For many, gambling is just a bit of fun – a casual pastime or a form of entertainment. However, for others, gambling can spiral into a compulsive behaviour that can impact all aspects of their lives, as well as those around them.

Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling addiction, is a serious mental health issue that is characterised by the compulsive urge to gamble despite the negative consequences. It can lead to financial ruin, strained relationships, and deteriorating mental well-being.

If you have a friend or family member struggling with a gambling problem, you may be wondering how you can help them. Here’s how:


1 – Recognise The Signs of Gambling Addiction

When helping a loved one with a gambling addiction, the first step is to understand and recognise the signs of addiction. For example, compulsive gamblers may spend time and energy on gambling and begin neglecting their responsibilities.

Here are some of the key behaviours to look out for if you’re worried a loved one has a gambling addiction:

  • Spending an excessive amount of time and money on gambling
  • Lying about their gambling habits or hiding losses
  • Borrowing money, selling possessions, or taking out loans to finance their gambling
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school due to gambling
  • Experiencing mood swings, irritability, or anxiety when unable to gamble


If you notice these signs in your loved one, it’s essential to address the issue with compassion and understanding.


2 – Avoid Enabling Their Behaviour

Although it may feel like the easiest choice to sit back and enable a friend or family member with an addiction to gambling, it can only make things worse in the long run. Enabling their behaviour can do more harm than good.

It may cause conflict, but it can be beneficial to avoid giving them money or sharing your credit cards. Likewise, although it may feel difficult, avoid bailing them out of financial troubles caused by gambling.

Instead, encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and seek help. Set boundaries to protect yourself from their destructive cycle, and to help them come to terms with their addiction.


3 – Approach Them Without Judgement

Approaching someone about their gambling addiction can be challenging – especially if it’s someone close to you. However, it can help them understand that they need help.

Be sure to approach them with empathy and avoid judgment and blame. Remember that it’s not their fault – and they are struggling with something and need support.

Express your concern for their well-being and offer your support in finding a solution. Listen to their point of view without interrupting or criticising, and validate their feelings without condoning their behaviour. Let them know that you’re there to help them through this difficult time.


4 – Consider Seeking Support For Yourself

Dealing with a gambling addict in your life can take a toll on your mental health and well-being. Be sure to prioritise self-care and look after yourself too. It can be helpful to seek support.

Joining support groups specifically for family and friends of addicts can provide you with a safe space to share your experiences and receive guidance from others who understand what you’re going through

Take time to engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re struggling to cope. After all, if you’re struggling yourself, you can’t be in a position to help others.


5 – Encourage Professional Treatment

One of the most productive ways to help a loved one battling a gambling addiction is to encourage them to seek help. Although support from family and friends is important, professional treatment is often needed when treating compulsive gambling.

Take time to research the different treatment options available and discuss them with your friend or loved one.

Therapeutic support such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can be highly effective in treating gambling addiction. It can help individuals to identify and change the thoughts and behaviours contributing to their addiction.

Likewise, support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous offer a supportive network of others who are facing similar challenges. These groups can provide encouragement and guidance on the road to recovery.

Not all people are open to receiving help. If your loved one is hesitant to seek help, gently encourage them to consider the consequences of their gambling addiction and the benefits of treatment.

It can be helpful to accompany them to therapy sessions or support groups and reassure them that they’re not alone in their struggle. With the right support network in place, it’s entirely possible to recover from gambling addiction.


Gambling Addiction Support with Rehubs

Supporting a friend or family member with a gambling addiction can be tough – it requires patience, empathy, and determination.

When you recognise the signs of addiction, avoid enabling their behaviour, approach them without judgement and encourage them to seek support, you can help them along their recovery journey.

At Rehubs, our online addiction treatment program can help your loved one beat gambling addiction for good. We’ve helped over 200 people overcome their addictions and can help your loved one too.

Your loved one can make the most of daily group sessions, one-to-one sessions, and plenty of support and resources to overcome their addiction.

Direct your loved one to Rehubs for gambling addiction support today. When they complete a personalised assessment, we can develop a tailored plan that meets their individual needs and requirements. We can ensure that every aspect of our rehab program is tailored to their specific needs.

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