Helping a Loved One With a Gambling Disorder

Gambling is a popular pastime that involves risking money or something of value in a game of chance. It can be done on a variety of things, from scratchcards and fruit machines to betting with friends and family members. There are many types of gambling, but the most common are sports betting and playing the lottery. Gambling can be fun, but it can also become a serious problem. It can lead to debt, bankruptcy and broken relationships. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, it is important to seek help early.

While some people can gamble responsibly, others have a much more difficult time with it. They may find that they can’t control their spending and are always thinking about how to get more money or how they will be able to pay their bills. This type of gambling can be called compulsive or addictive gambling.

It’s important to understand why people become addicted to gambling. It can help you support the person you love and make it easier for them to seek treatment. Many people gamble for social reasons, to relieve boredom or as a way to unwind after a stressful day. Others do it for entertainment or because they think they can win big. While these reasons don’t absolve the person of their responsibility, they can provide some insight into why they keep gambling.

Several different types of therapy are effective in treating gambling disorders. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. CBT focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors that contribute to gambling problems. Psychodynamic therapy is a more in-depth form of psychotherapy that aims to increase self-awareness and understanding of unconscious processes that affect behavior.

Gambling disorders can also be treated through family and individual therapy. Marriage, career and credit counseling can help repair damaged relationships and finances. Individual therapy can be beneficial for a person who has a gambling disorder, as it can help them learn healthier ways to cope with their emotions and stress.

It’s important to encourage a loved one with a gambling disorder to seek treatment, and to be supportive. If they are resistant, try to remain neutral and listen to them without judgment. Suggest calling a gambling helpline, talking to a mental health professional or going to Gamblers Anonymous. You can also offer to attend these meetings with them, if they agree. This will show them that you are there for them and that you care. Taking steps to overcome a gambling disorder requires courage and strength. If you or a loved one is struggling, remember that many others have successfully recovered from this challenging condition. With help and support, you can too.