How to Help a Loved One With a Gambling Addiction


Gambling is a form of entertainment in which people stake something of value on a random event with the intention of winning a prize. This can range from lottery tickets to sports betting and casino games. It is not socially acceptable for people to gamble excessively, as it can cause problems with family and friends, impoverish families, strain work or study performance and even lead to homelessness. However, many people who gamble do so responsibly.

There are a number of ways that you can help a loved one who is suffering from gambling addiction, including encouraging them to seek treatment and supporting them through the process. Some people will benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help to change unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior that contribute to compulsive gambling. Other treatments include medication, especially antidepressants. If underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety are contributing to the problem, these may also need to be addressed.

In addition to providing psychological and emotional support, you can help by taking steps to set financial boundaries for the gambler. For example, if you live with the person affected by gambling addiction, you can ask them to make you a signatory on their bank account. This can prevent them from spending money that isn’t theirs, and it can also help to keep track of their spending habits. It is not your responsibility to micromanage their money, but you should make sure that they don’t spend more than they can afford to lose.

You can also help by strengthening their support network and encouraging them to engage in other healthy activities. This can be as simple as making new friends or trying out a hobby. It can also be as ambitious as starting a new career or enrolling in an educational course. You can also suggest they try a 12-step recovery program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, which helps people overcome gambling addiction.

The first step to overcoming gambling addiction is admitting that you have a problem. This can be difficult, particularly if you have lost a lot of money or strained relationships as a result of your gambling. But it is important to remember that there are many others who have successfully recovered from gambling addiction and rebuilt their lives.

If you’re struggling with a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. There are a number of online therapy services that can match you with licensed, accredited therapists. BetterHelp, for example, offers a free assessment that can match you with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. The therapists you’re matched with will be able to help you with a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship problems and gambling addiction. They’ll teach you how to deal with these challenges and overcome them. Then, you’ll be able to take control of your life and stop gambling. This is a hard but rewarding experience, and the benefits can last a lifetime.