How to help a gambler?

Gambling problems often affect the entire family, and the spouse or children are often forced to take on the responsibilities of running the family errands and dealing with the financial situation. The spouse often feels the need to hide the problems from the children in the family and to give them more attention than before because of the lack of given attention from the gambler.  Sometimes the financial situation depends on the spouse and forces him/her to work overtime and put bigger of an effort into stabilizing the monetary balance.

Does this sound familiar to you? Below are some tips on how to support the gambler and a list of some things you should try to avoid to motivate the gambler to seek help and gain control over gambling.

1.  Get information about problem gambling and talk to someone you can trust about the situation. Get help for yourself!

2.  Tell the gambler your view of the situation. Keep calm when discussing the behavior of the gambler and how it affects your life together.

3.  Try to protect the family finances to avoid further problems that set the entire family at risk. If that means closing the gambler’s access to family accounts, don’t hesitate.

4.  Help the gambler to seek help if that’s what he/she wants to do, and support his/her decisions according to your own resources.

5.  Try to remember that change takes time, effort and more than one shot at it to be successful.

6.  Don’t preach or accuse the gambler of creating the problem. Try to remember the good qualities in the other person.

7.  Let the gambler deal with the consequences of his/her gambling. Do not loan him/her any money or pay off gambling debts.

8.  Do not gamble with your relative.

9.  Don’t take the responsibility of the gambler getting better solely on you. Encourage him/her to take responsibility of the situation and the behavior and decisions he/she makes.