How to Help a Spouse with a Gambling Problem

By Dustin | Help

Jun 28

How to Help a Spouse with a GamblingIs your spouse currently dealing with a gambling problem, and you can’t figure out why they’re behaving the way they are?

There are lots of people that can go out to a casino and enjoy the fun in gambling whether they win or lose.

However, there are other individuals who over the course of time develop an addiction to gambling that can ultimately tear apart their lives.

From the outside looking in, it seems as if a person should be able to control their actions – especially when the consequences are severe.

Be that as it may, compulsive gambling and/or addiction are progressive and complicated illnesses that eventually grow beyond their control.

Understanding What Compulsive Gambling is

Winning is something that we all hope to do when we gamble (or compete on some level). When we actually do win, there’s an instant feeling of thrill and accomplishment.

These overwhelming feelings are triggered by chemicals released into the “feel good” section of the brain. Naturally, the brain wants to feel this feeling again and thus begins to actions of repetitive gambling.

What was once a monthly trip to the casino then becomes gambling online and/or betting on sports. The more you win, the more you want to gamble. The more you lose the more you want to win again. Eventually, it is out of your control and the brain simply feels it “needs” to win in order to feel good again.

Some might assume that if they can be satisfied with gambling on occasion, so should those who suffer from compulsive gambling or an addiction. However, it is important to point out that everyone is different and thus can be affected by gambling in a different way.

While one person could develop an addiction after gambling for the first time, others may not develop an addiction for several years. There are varying factors that determine when a person may or may not develop an addiction.

Signs Of a Gambling Problem

After fully understanding the meaning of a compulsive gambler or a gambling addict, the next step in helping your loved one with their issue is to educate yourself on the warning signs.

Below are a few of these signs to consider:

  • Has your spouse started gambling more than usual?
  • Are they spending money that you don’t have to spend on gambling?
  • Do they gamble despite your concern?
  • Does gambling keep them from completing daily responsibilities at home and/or at work?
  • Have they begun to lie about their gambling activities in an effort to keep you off their back?
  • Have they begun stealing and/or committing fraud as a means to get money to gamble?
  • Do they ask others for small loans and use it to gamble (or to cover gambling debts)?

If you’ve recognized any of these signs in your spouse, you will need to address the matter so that you can get them assistance with their illness.

Approaching Your Loved One

Dealing with the realization that your spouse may have a gambling problem can be a hard pill to swallow.

Prior to approaching them on the subject matter, it may be ideal that you first take a few deep breaths and equip yourself with resourceful information on gambling addictions. When you do approach your spouse, it will be important that you approach him with love and concern and not from a place of pain or anger.

When you’re dealing with something as serious as addiction, you must handle it delicately to ensure that what you have to say does not seem like an ambush. Below are a few tips on talking with a loved one:

· Sort through your feelings first – the moment you realize there is a gambling problem, you don’t want to address the issue right then.

Take the time to ensure that you’re fully educated on addiction and how to best help your loved one prior to having a discussion.

· Be an effective communicator – when you’re dealing with something as serious as addiction it is important that you do as much listening as you do talking.

If your loved one is made to feel like all you’re doing is pointing fingers, they may be reluctant to confide in you, or even worse, refuse to get help.

· Share what you’ve learned – After having addressed your concerns with your loved one, and having listened to their feelings on the matter, sharing what you’ve learned about gambling addiction is a great way to show them you care.

You can discuss what addiction is, what the warning signs are, and the various ways to get help.

Getting Help

There are several methods in which you can get help for your spouse and their gambling addiction. There is essentially talking with a therapist, going with a rehab facility for outpatient treatment options, or going for long term care inpatient treatment options.

While everyone has a different path to recovery, Prescotthouse.net, a rehab facility for men, discusses why long term treatment is ideal for optimal recovery. After deciding which route you’re going to take, reaching out to the best service provider right away is ideal.

The sooner your loved one can get help, the better off they’ll be.

Dealing with mental illness of any kind can be traumatic not only for the person suffering from the illness, but for the family as well.

If your spouse is currently struggling with a gambling problem, or any form of addiction, it is ideal that you first educate yourself, recognize the signs, and approach them in a loving and supportive way.

When they’re ready to change, knowing that they have you in their corner to get help will make their recovery that much more successful.

This post was contributed by writer, Christine Michaels.

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