Looking for advice for relatives?
Do you know someone who gambles too much?
Problem gambling can have many serious consequences that do not only affect the gambler, but also worry the persons close to the gambler, give them feelings of distrust, isolation and other strong emotional stress.
Often it is a relative who is the first one to react on a gambler’s change of behaviour and takes the initiative to confront and help the problem gambler with their gambling problem.
It can be a good idea to get advice from professionals on how to approach the conversation to avoid ending the conversation in denial of the problem and conflicts.
At StopSpillet, we can advise you on how to talk about the gambling problem with your loved one.
Recognise the signs of compulsive gambling
Gambling problems can be expressed in many different ways and no one will react in the same way on the stress that gambling constitutes. However, it is still possible to list some behavioural signs that may indicate gambling problems and that you can look after, if you suspect that a loved one is affected by problem gambling.
Some of the signs may be that the person:
- Is irritable, short-tempered, and often enters conflicts.
- Is mentally absent, but pre-occupied with gambling and results.
- Lies, makes excuses for and comes up with strange explanations.
- Has a high spending but often financial problems and asks for a loan.
- Breaks appointments and stays away from school or work.
- Happily talks about winnings, but never about losses.
- Isolates himself, seems in low spirits and dumps hobbies etc.
- Changes sleep pattern or has a difficult time sleeping.
- Seems stressed and restless and can show signs of anxiety and depression.
Is it only the gambler, who needs help?
Take care of yourself
It is normal to be both angry at the gambler and sad about the situation at the same time. It can be very stressful to keep worries and negative feelings to yourself and this can cause problems with both sleep and appetite. Many relatives take on too big a responsibility for the gambler and live a life full of secrets and starts to withdraw from social settings.
It is not healthy to live a life where the consequences of gambling start to overtake the life of both the compulsive gambler and the relatives. This is why it is important to get help from others to handle the situation you are in.
As a relative, it is important that you do not forget yourself in spite of the gambling problems and your need to help the other. You may need to create some space for yourself to maintain your own interests and have positive experiences.
As a relative it is completely al right to set boundaries for the compulsive gambler. At the same time it can be really hard to set boundaries for someone you want to help and often the changed situation will cause defiance and anger, for example when you set limits for financial help.
Advice on taking 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.
- Set boundaries. Do not accept lies, betrayal, and breaches of your trust.
- Get an overview of the financial consequences of gambling, it may be necessary to cancel accounts.
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 can do to support your loved one to gain control of the problem.