How to Help Someone With a Gambling Problem


A person gambles by wagering something of value on a random event with the intent to win another item of value. While gambling can be an enjoyable activity, it can also lead to addiction and a variety of other problems. In addition, it can lead to the need for professional help and can impact a person’s health. In the case of pathological gambling (PG), a person’s gambling is considered to be beyond control when it causes distress, significant family or financial issues, and interferes with work and school functions. PG may be diagnosed by a mental health professional who uses clinical assessment tools and performs an interview with the patient. A person with a gambling problem may not recognize their condition and could be reluctant to seek help. Those who are concerned about someone’s gambling behaviour can offer encouragement and support, but they should not try to force them to stop or change their behavior. Instead, they should talk with them in a supportive and non-confrontational manner and encourage them to use self-help strategies and/or peer support and consider a treatment program.

There are several factors that contribute to the development of gambling problems. Some of these factors include the person’s age, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Usually, younger people start gambling at a higher rate and develop a problem in their 20s. Similarly, the odds of having a problem increase with age and the prevalence is higher among males than females. Moreover, people of lower SES tend to have more problems with gambling than those of higher SES.

People with a problem often lose control of their finances and spend money they don’t have, resulting in debts. As a result, they may not be able to pay their bills and may have to rely on friends or family members for money. Many gambling addictions also cause stress, depression, and anxiety, which can make the problem worse. It is important to treat any underlying conditions at the same time as treating gambling addiction.

Some tips to help someone with a gambling problem are:

Set a budget for how much you can spend each week. Keep track of the amount you’ve won and lost and be careful not to exceed your limit. Practice gambling with friends to get used to the feeling of risk before playing for real money.

The best way to address a loved one’s gambling problem is to have an honest and non-confrontational discussion about it. It is important to let them know that you care about them and want them to stop gambling. Criticizing them and constantly nagging or belittling them will only drive them away from you. Rather, focus on the positives of their life and ways to improve it. Also, remember to be patient as it can take weeks or even months for them to start to turn things around. If you cannot talk to them in person, then you can find support services for both of you online.