Help a Loved One with a Gambling Problem with These Tips
It is possible for many people to enjoy the occasional gambling session without it becoming a problem, however some people can develop a gambling addiction that can ruin their lives. It is important to remember that compulsive gambling is a progressive illness. This means that even if an individual has gambled before and been ok, they could still develop a problem later on in life. A gambling compulsion is difficult to overcome, but it is possible to manage it with professional help.
Signs of Compulsive Gambling
There is no consensus among experts on what leads to an individual developing a gambling addiction. Some factors that contribute to it might be hereditary or environmental. Usually, individuals who gamble compulsively do so as a means to escape their problems or feelings like depression or guilt. The possible signs of a gambling addiction are:
- Spending beyond one’s means on gambling.
- Problems in personal relationships due to gambling.
- Gambling interfering with work.
- Inability to cut back on or stop gambling.
- Stealing or asking for loans to support the gambling habit or to cover debts.
- Spending increasing amounts of time gambling.
How to Help Someone with a Gambling Problem
If one suspects a loved one has a gambling problem, the most important step to take is to encourage them to get professional help. However, it is critical to remember that while the individual’s family and friends might be ready for them to change, the individual might not be ready to make that change. But there are other ways to help.
Talking to someone to is a good first approach. This can be challenging to do and the best thing to do is asking the individual if the problem exists. Of course, one may not always get a straight answer, but one may get some useful information, if asking in a non confrontational way. Letting the individual know that one is worried about them and want to support their well being will work far better than being judgmental or aggressive.
How to Treat a Gambling Addiction
A gambling problem can be treated in three main ways, being, Psychotherapy, Medication and Support Groups. Different therapies work for different people. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help an individual identify the thought patterns that that lead to and support their gambling problem and replace them with healthier beliefs. Other individuals react better to antidepressants and mood stabilizing medications. Some might prefer to attend support groups like Gamblers Anonymous or other group therapy.
The type of treatment that works well for one individual may not be effective for another. Therefore, seeking professional guidance and discussing treatment options with a trained therapist is the best way for an individual to choose the treatment solution that will be most effective for them.
Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Call us if you need help for your loved one who is struggling to quit gambling or other addictions. Our staff and programs support individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors and get them on the path to recovery and healing.