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National Addictions Management Service

How to Help Your Loved One

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Gambling is insidious because it starts off as a social and recreational activity. However, the compulsive gambler soon slides into destructive behaviour that leads to lying, stealing, and pushing away loved ones.

As with any addiction, recovering from problem gambling isn't easy but it can be done.

Why can't they just stop?

Although gambling doesn’t involve abusing a substance, it has a similar effect on the brain that drug and alcohol addiction does. Stopping isn’t just a question of will power.

How to help?

If someone you know has a gambling problem, encourage them to get help from a professional. Realise though that you can’t make someone want to change. They have to decide they are ready to change.

Starting the conversation

Talking about the problem is the first step, and first steps are usually the hardest. What should you say? How do you get them to see that their behaviour is causing problems?

To work out the best way to approach the conversation you can:

Additional tips

  • Stay calm and be supportive. Tell them how their gambling has affected you. Recognize if they've made positive steps and praise them for it.
  • Learn to say "No" to requests for money and get friends and family to adopt this approach as well.
  • Get support from other friends and family, counsellors or self-help groups who can help you understand the problem and deal with its effects. The more support you get, the better.
  • Protect yourself and your family, financially, emotionally and physically. If necessary, seek the help of a family counsellor.
  • Remember that change takes time, effort and often several attempts to be successful.

Where to Find Gambling Addiction Treatment

The sooner you receive treatment for your gambling problem, the easier it is to stop the progression of the illness.

Call our All Addiction 6-RECOVER Helpline at 6-7326837 to talk to someone confidentially who can walk you step by step through your options.

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All addictions: 6-7326837, Gambling helpline: 1-800-6-668-668