Concerned about a friend, colleague or family member and their gambling habits?
The key to helping them is firstly to understand them; what they’re going through and their mindset.
It’s vital that the person feels understood if you expect them to be honest and frank with you to discuss their needs and your concerns.
A person with gambling problems is likely to feel a mix of the following:
Shame, Guilt, Hurt, Betrayal, Desperation, Helpless, Fear, Denial
Discussing the issues will of course draw attention to the problem which could easily impact on his or her mindset and further cloud their judgement in tackling their gambling problems. It’s not unusual for a person with gambling issues to act ‘out of character’ to those close to them which of course will leave you puzzled and with emotions to manage yourself also.
Fortunately there are ways to help both you and the problem gambler.
Remember though; the gambler’s mindset could be very pro-gambling, seeing the positives far more than the negative issues surrounding him or her, they simply do not see an issue.
You must avoid rewarding the gambling behaviour; loans however big or small, to help them may actually reinforce their views that the ‘big win’ is around the corner. As an alternative perhaps consider helping to pay a bill if he/she manages a week with no gambling activities.
Keep in mind that when the gambler has paid all their debts, this can be a time when they are vulnerable to relapse. Some gamblers may feel that once debts are full repaid it’s ok to gamble again.