It is so sad when you suspect someone in your family has a gambling problem.
Addiction can ruin lives and be so difficult for those around them, so it’s natural you want to help them in any way you can. If you’re unsure if your family member, we’re going to bring you some of the most frequently asked questions people have when someone from their family has a gambling problem.
Does someone in my family have a gambling problem?
Why does my family member lie about gambling?
If someone lies about gambling, it can mean they know there is something not normal about their behavior. They might’ve already self-identified gambling warning signs but still don’t want to or find it difficult to stop.
They might also be lying because they think you will judge them for their behavior. Whatever the reason, lying is not a good sign.
Is my family member broke or in debt because of gambling?
Sometimes family members will notice their loved ones finances spiralling out of control due to gambling. Perhaps they’re late paying bills, maybe they’re constantly putting things on their credit card or borrowing money to make ends meet.
Another possibility is they are gambling more to try to make up for losses. Due to the way gambling odds work, this is unrealistic and a dangerous way of thinking.
If you suspect their gambling has also increased in this time, it’s a clear sign that they may have a problem.
Why has my family member started stealing?
Sometimes people with addiction steal money, perhaps even from loved ones, to fuel this addiction. In some cases, this can happen to family members with a gambling problem.
Why does my family member want to gamble instead of spending time doing other things?
In people with addiction, their gambling can consume their thoughts and lives. It can make it difficult to think about different things, let alone make time for them. If you’ve noticed your family member canceling plans frequently and cutting back on their hobbies to simply gamble instead, this is a concerning sign.
Why do we argue so much about gambling?
Are you and your family member arguing more than normal? Are these fights frequently about gambling? If you bring up the subject and they get overly defensive and annoyed, it can indicate they have a problem.
Is my family member’s job suffering because of gambling?
Problem gambling can affect all areas of a person’s life. It can also have a detrimental affect on their career. They might be less engaged and interested in work. They could call in sick more. Perhaps they are underperforming. Ultimately, this might lead to them being passed over for promotions or even fired. And this, in turn, will have an even greater negative impact on their mental health and their finances.
How do I help someone who has a gambling problem?
If you think someone in your family has a gambling problem, you should help them in any way you can. Encourage them to self-exclude from online gambling as a first step. But that is just the beginning.
They need to get help from someone professionally or else it will be almost impossible to address the root cause of the addiction and stop for good. For those based in the United States, the National Council on Problem Gambling has online resources as well as a phone line at 1800 522 4700.
If your loved one is based outside the USA, you can find international gambling help organizations in their local area.