Helping a Loved One With a Gambling Problem

When someone gambles, they risk something of value in an attempt to win more valuable money. This is often considered a form of entertainment, and it can be enjoyed in casinos, on TV or online. But gambling is not always a safe bet and many people can become addicted to it. It’s important to understand the risks associated with gambling and how to help a loved one who has a problem.

In the past, psychiatric researchers and psychiatrists generally viewed pathological gambling as a compulsion rather than an addiction. However, when the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was updated in 2013, the APA moved pathological gambling into the addictions chapter along with other impulse-control disorders such as kleptomania and trichotillomania (hair pulling).

Gambling can lead to serious financial issues and even bankruptcy. The good news is, there are treatments for this type of problem. The main goal of therapy is to teach the person in recovery how to control their emotions and avoid gambling. In addition, treatment may include cognitive-behavioral therapy and family counseling to deal with the issues that caused their gambling problems.

It’s also important to remember that your loved one did not choose to have a gambling problem and it was likely triggered by certain circumstances. For example, if they had an early win, it may have boosted their self-esteem and made them feel more confident, making them want to keep gambling in the hope of a bigger jackpot. It’s also possible that their addiction was triggered by stress, depression or anxiety. It’s important to understand these factors and be patient when trying to help them overcome their gambling addiction.

Many people with a gambling problem develop a habit of secretly betting and lying about their betting habits to their friends and family. They might also lie about their losses to try and justify their actions or convince themselves that they will win back the money that they have lost. This can lead to a number of problems, including the deterioration of relationships and feelings of isolation. It’s a good idea to set limits for yourself and your loved ones when it comes to gambling. Only bet with money that you can afford to lose and never use money that is needed for bills or rent.

When you’re gambling, it is important to remember that the odds are always against you and that losing is part of the game. This can be especially difficult for those who like to play games that involve a lot of skill, such as poker and blackjack. If you find yourself thinking that you are due for a big win or that you can recoup your losses by playing a bit longer, this is known as the gambling fallacy and it’s important to recognise when this happens. Instead of gambling, consider other forms of entertainment such as going to the cinema or a concert. These are enjoyable, yet safer ways to have fun.

Posted in: Gambling