6 Tips To Help A Family Member With A Gambling Addiction

6 tips to help a family member with a Gambling Addiction

Just one more: is this phrase that encourages the person suffering from a gambling addiction to make one last bet before retiring. Gambling addiction is a behavioral addiction, that is, an addiction that does not involve the ingestion of drugs or substances to become problematic. According to researchers and professionals specialized in the subject, many behaviors that are initially normal—such as participating in gambling, going shopping or killing time on social networks—can become pathological depending on the frequency with which they occur. carried out, the intensity, and the degree of impact on the person’s vital areas, such as work, studies or interpersonal relationships.

Given the complexity of this issue not only for the addict, but also for his family, in this article we will propose 6 Tips to help a family member suffering from a gambling addiction.

The role of the companion of a family member with gambling addiction

One of the groups most affected by a loved one’s problematic gambling behaviors is the family. This could be highly mobilized, since living with the addicted person complicates the internal functioning of the family in endless situations. For example, the person addicted to gambling may become irritated by circumstances in which he or she is unable to go to the gambling site—for example, due to a car breaking down on the way to the casino—so he or she may respond aggressively to those who are addicted to gambling. They live with him or her.

On the other hand, also usually mobilizes the family group in an economic sense, since gambling addiction involves betting increasingly larger amounts of money to obtain the desired gratification. This could have an impact on the management of family income, but also on social relationships with friends and acquaintances, since a phenomenon that characterizes gambling addiction is the recurring request for money from others to alleviate desperate financial situations, all caused by gambling. game.

You may be interested:  How to Know if I Have Body Dysmorphia

Taking on the role of accompanying a person who suffers from pathological gambling disorder is difficult, and even more so if it is a loved one. Family members do not always know how they should respond to consequences for their problematic behaviors, nor how they should act when they are about to be carried out. The latter is a relatively recent phenomenon, since long ago gambling addiction used to be relegated to places with gaming tables or slot machines, such as bars or casinos. However, in recent years the problem has moved to homes, to the family’s place of residence, since the boom The online casino has made more available the possibility of betting absurd amounts of money with a couple of clicks.

Tips to help a loved one with gambling addiction

Taking into account the complexity of this issue, below we present some tips to be able to face the situation and help a family member with a gambling addiction.

1. Validate your experience

The first point involves validating the addict’s experience. Many times, people who suffer the consequences of problematic behaviors have the impulse to reproach the person with addiction. This doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to be angry. Actually, It is logical, valid and expected for family members to feel angry, since their lives are also being affected by each other’s addiction. However, it is important to know when it is better not to act based on intense emotional states. Instead of responding impulsively, it may be helpful to let your loved one know that their gambling problem is valid, because it is most likely a learned way of coping with problems in their life that turns out to be ineffective; perhaps it operates as an escape from your difficult emotions. Family members can tell you that although it is not your fault, it is your responsibility to take action on the matter, but that they will be there to accompany you.

You may be interested:  Echopraxia: What it Is, Causes and Treatment

2. Make him notice the long-term effects of gambling

Although engaging in persistent gambling can be extremely rewarding for your loved one, one strategy to help them is to make them notice the long-term effects of their gambling (if they are open to the dialogue). The ecstasy of playing is fleeting. However, the long-term consequences tend to be negative, and also disagree with the personal values ​​of those who suffer from addiction.

For example, if the addict highly values ​​being a present son, he could put at risk specific actions aligned with that value, such as being available to accompany his father to the doctor on Monday morning. Having gone to the casino the night before, I couldn’t be there for him. As a family member, it is possible to ask a series of questions so that the person realizes that this momentary pleasure is not worth it if it has such long-term effects.

3. Provide information about it

If the person is willing to talk about it and that conversation does not pose a risk to you, providing information regarding problem gambling will be helpful. From empathy it is possible to let the other know that their discomfort is valid, that it has a name and a treatment. Many people are unaware of the existence of treatments based on scientific evidence to address this type of problem, so it is important to convey this as well.

4. Suggest going to therapy

In line with the previous advice, once the person assumes that they have a problem and that, however, there is a way to live a full life even if they have fallen into problematic gambling behaviors, it will be important for them to evaluate the treatment. As a family member, it is very difficult to put yourself in the position of forcing the other person to go to therapy, and it is likely to even be counterproductive. Instead, It is a good idea to encourage dialogue, ask if it is okay for you to start treatment and facilitate that task. This could take concrete forms, such as finding out online about centers or offices where mental health professionals treat these problems, calling by phone or taking them in the car to that place.

You may be interested:  Secondary Traumatic Stress: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

5. Establish agreements

This will depend on the family context, but in some cases it may be a good idea to agree on changes in the management of finances, or the times when the car or Internet access is available. These strategies aim to make it more difficult for the person to play. However, it is important that this is consensual and not something hidden from the person suffering from the addiction. The unavailability of problematic behavior can generate high levels of anxiety or stress, so concealment will only make the situation worse. For this reason, the work of a psychotherapist or psychiatrist who is capable of suggesting changes within family functioning is essential, with the aim of preventing the person from relapsing into gambling.

6. Know your own limits

Ultimately, knowing your limits as a family member is important to taking care of your own mental health. Accompaniment can be frustrating at times, or it can be accompanied by difficult emotions such as anger, anguish or sadness that can be difficult to process. For this reason, also It is recommended that you see a therapist if you have a family member who suffers from a gambling addiction.

Helping yourself face the difficulties that this situation entails is just as important as being available for others.