How to Know When a Loved One Needs Emergency Gambling Addiction Help

How to Know When a Loved One Needs Emergency Gambling Addiction HelpGambling addiction can be a heartbreaking problem to witness. The behavior of a gambling addict makes no sense to their friends and loved ones. Addicts will keep gambling long after they lose everything. Relationships, finances and even their health will ultimately be sacrificed to this disease. Many gambling addicts also end up addicted to drugs or alcohol as they try to cope with their serious mental disorder. It’s difficult to know how and when to help a loved one receive emergency gambling addiction help, but it is possible and we can help.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

The brain controls the body through an intricate chemical system. Certain behaviors spike chemicals that promote wellbeing, and the brain registers these spikes in the pleasure center. A variety of behaviors can trigger this chemical response, including the following:

  • Sex
  • Exercise
  • Frightening or risky behaviors
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Spending money
  • Self-injury

Gambling triggers this system in several ways. The risk of loss, the anticipation of reward and even the associated lights, sounds and smells of a gambling environment can trigger these chemical responses in the brain. Like drugs or alcohol the gambling addict craves these responses and will be unable to use her rational mind to restrain herself. This addiction is purely psychological, but the fact is that this part of the brain is much more powerful to drive behavior than the rational mind is to stop it. Even when the gambling addicts want desperately to stop, they simply can’t without professional help.

The following signs may indicate that your loved one’s gambling has become an addiction:

  • Gambling when they can’t afford to lose
  • Risking money they don’t have (debt)
  • Dishonesty about gambling
  • Excessive time alone on the computer
  • Defensiveness or anger when approached by concerned loved ones
  • Broken promises and commitments to quit gambling
  • Increased substance use or abuse

Gambling addicts usually believe that they have no problem. They assume that they can quit when they want to, but that they just don’t want to yet. They honestly believe that they are on the verge of a major win. Unfortunately even if they do win now and again, the amount they lose is always much more. The toll gambling takes on families, friendships and careers is enormous.

How to Help a Gambling Addict

Gambling addicts must accept that they have a problem and must welcome help to recover. Loved ones can promote this process by lovingly confronting the addict about their concerns. If this is unsuccessful, a professional intervention may be effective. Professional interventionists can prepare loved ones for these high-risk confrontations. Friends and family may need to establish and reinforce healthy boundaries to avoid enabling the gambling to continue. This can be very difficult to do, but counselors can help.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s gambling, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline any time for free advice and help connecting to the best recovery programs available. Our counselors can answer any questions you have and can help you prepare for the important role you may play in your loved one’s eventual recovery.