Looking for advice for relatives?
Do you know someone who gambles too much?
Compulsive gambling can have many serious consequences that do not only affect the players, but also the people close to them. Here, you will find advice on what to pay attention to if you suspect that someone close to you has problems with gambling. You will also find advice on how to take care of yourself as a relative or friend of a compulsive gambler.
Recognise the signs of compulsive gambling
Gambling problems can manifest in many different ways, and no one will react in the same way to the strain gambling can be. If you suspect that someone close to you is affected by problem gambling, there are some signs you may look for.
For example, the person:
- Is irritable, snappish, and prone to getting into conflicts.
- Seems mentally distant.
- Is all-consumed with gambling and results.
- Often lies, offers apologies and strange explanations.
- Spends a lot of money, often has financial problems and wants to borrow money.
- Breaks appointments and stays away from work or school.
- Happily tells you about winnings but never about losses.
- Isolates himself, seems depressed and skips friends and spare time activities.
- Changes sleep pattern or sleeps unwell.
- Seems stressed and restless and may show signs of anxiety and depression.
People close to compulsive gamblers
People close to persons affected by compulsive gambling can experience many mixed feelings. For example, those surfacing when you are concerned and want to help. You can also feel frustrated when you cannot get through to your loved one or anger when conflicts arise. Some also feel difficult emotions because they have endured lies and betrayal. Compulsive gambling can have serious financial consequences affecting people close to the player with stress and worries about the future. It can be confusing and hard as a relative or friend to deal with the many different situations becoming part of the everyday life, when you live with compulsive gambling close to you.
Often, family and friends are the first to react on a behavioural change and take the initiative to confront and help the compulsive gambling with their gambling problem. Because the situation activates many different feelings, they may get in the way of approaching the problem in a constructive way. You may, for example, react with accusations instead of the recognition you had planned.
Get advice on the conversations at StopSpillet
It can be a good idea to get help from professionals to deal with the situation and the difficult conversations.
At StopSpillet, we offer you the opportunity to talk about the dilemmas you experience and you can get advice on how to talk about the gambling problems with the person you worry about. To get help from others gives you more energy to help both yourself and support the person with the gambling problem.
Take care of yourself in the difficult situation
It is normal to be both angry at the person who gambles and sad about the situation at the same time. It can be difficult to be alone with your worries and negative feelings and it can affect your sleep and apetite. Many relatives take on a great responsibility in relation to the gambler and lives a life full of secrets and can begin to withdraw from social activities.
It is not healthy to live a life where the consequences of gambling begin to take over the existence of both the compulsive gambler and their relatives. Therefore, it is helpful to get support from others to deal with the situation.
As a relative, it is important that you, despite the gambling problem and your need to help the other, do not forget yourself and create some space for you to keep your own interests and have positive experiences.
As a relative, it is all right for you to set boundaries for the compulsive gambler and for what you can tolerate and accept. At the same time, the act of setting boundaries for someone you want to help can be really difficult. Often the changed situation will cause defiance and anger, for example when you set limits for financial help.
Good advice on how to take care of yourself:
- Prioritise your own life, work and interests.
- Talk about problems and make sure to seek support in others.
- Tell the gambler, how their gambling addiction is affecting you.
- Talk with the gambler about your worries and about seeking help.
- Get an overview of the financial consequences of gambling, involve the bank, and get help to, for example, cancel accounts and debit cards.
Get help for family and friends at StopSpillet
At StopSpillet, we can talk to you about your current situation and advise you on the options you have to get help and what you do to put yourself in focus in the difficult situation.