Whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, betting on a football match or playing the pokies, gambling is a risk-taking activity. But while some people gamble for fun and excitement, others have a serious addiction to this pastime that can cause significant harm. If you are concerned about a loved one’s gambling habits, there are some things you can do to help.
First, you should encourage them to seek professional guidance and treatment from a specialist addiction clinic or center. This can help them learn how to recognize their triggers and implement healthy coping strategies for emotional and financial problems. You can also encourage them to seek counseling for themselves, as this may help them cope with their own emotional struggles and stress levels.
Another way to help someone struggling with gambling is to reinforce positive behaviour and support their efforts to make changes. You can do this by giving them verbal and written praise, recognizing their successes and supporting them to achieve their goals. You can also help them set budgets, limit access to money and encourage them to see a qualified financial advisor if needed.
It’s important to note that you cannot force a friend or family member to acknowledge that their gambling is harmful, and the only person who can take control of their gambling is themselves. However, you can encourage them to attend therapy for their gambling disorder and seek out support groups that focus on this issue. You can also help them understand how their gambling affects you by explaining the effects of compulsive gambling.
There are several ways to help a person with gambling disorder, such as psychodynamic therapy and group therapy. Psychodynamic therapy aims to increase self-awareness by exploring unconscious processes that influence a person’s behavior. In addition, group therapy provides moral support and motivation for a person suffering from gambling disorder.
In some cases, a person with gambling disorder might have suicidal thoughts and feelings, and you should try to encourage them to seek support from a health professional as soon as possible. It’s important to recognize that suicidal thinking is often a sign of a mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression. In many cases, professional help can significantly reduce suicidal thoughts and feelings and improve a person’s overall quality of life.
If you have a friend or family member who has a gambling disorder, you can offer support by strengthening their network of supportive friends and relatives. You can also encourage them to seek out peer support in recovery groups for people with gambling disorders. A common example is Gamblers Anonymous, a 12-step program modelled after Alcoholics Anonymous. This approach can help a person overcome their addiction and rebuild their relationships with others. In addition, you can offer to help them find other healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and emotions, such as exercise, recreational activities and spending time with family and friends. You can also recommend a therapist that can provide individual or family therapy to address the underlying issues.