Helping a Loved One With a Gambling Addiction

Gambling involves placing something of value, typically money, on an event that is determined at least partly by chance. Examples of gambling include betting on horse races or sports events, buying lottery tickets, playing bingo, cards, dice, slot machines, instant scratch tickets and more.

People gamble for a variety of reasons, from socialising to escaping stress and worries. However, for some people gambling can become a problem and cause them to lose control of their finances, their lives and even their relationships. If you have a loved one who suffers from a gambling addiction, it is important to understand why they are struggling and what you can do to help.

It’s a good idea to set limits in terms of how much you can spend and not allow your loved one to use credit or other sources of income that could potentially be used to fund gambling. It’s also important to educate your loved one about the risks of gambling and ways to avoid becoming addicted. It can be helpful to set aside a specific time for your loved one to gamble each day so that they don’t feel pressured to gamble at other times.

Gambling is often portrayed as a negative thing and it can lead to financial problems and personal issues. However, there are some positive aspects of gambling such as socialising, mental development and skill improvement. It can also provide a source of income for some and boost the economy.

People who gamble tend to be impulsive and they find it hard to assess the long-term effects of their actions. They are also less likely to stop when they experience a win as this activates the reward centre of their brain and gives them a natural high. In addition, they may have genetic predispositions to addiction, making them more susceptible to developing an addictive disorder.

Losses are more prominent than gains of equal value, which is why gamblers often invest their time and money to ‘make up’ for previous losses. They are also more likely to try and recover their losses by taking out loans or borrowing money which can further compound their financial problems.

People who are addicted to gambling often display several warning signs including lying and downplaying their behaviour, using other people’s money to fund gambling and continuing to gamble despite the fact that it has negatively impacted their life. They may also display coexisting mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety which can exacerbate the effect of gambling. The good news is that there are many resources available to help people with a gambling addiction and there is also support groups. To help your loved one, it’s vital to educate yourself about the issues surrounding gambling and offer emotional support. Our Safeguarding Courses can help you learn more about what to look out for and how to respond appropriately. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from a gambling addiction, it’s important to seek help immediately.