A Quick Guide in How to Help a Problem Gambler

A Quick Guide in How to Help a Problem Gambler

April 21, 2016

Over the course of the last month, we have received a lot of inquires about how to help someone with a gambling problem. Talking to someone that is not actively seeking treatment or help themselves can be challenging. Here is a roadmap to help along with some tidbits of information.

  • You can’t make someone ready to change! Remember that even though a person’s gambling has affected you to the point where you’re ready for them to change, they might not be ready yet. You can offer support and seek professional help with how to proceed.
  • Take a non judgmental tone- how you say it is almost more important that what you say!
  • Be sure to have open and inviting body language
  • Be sure to talk in a safe, private place where all parties are comfortable
  • Put your own hurt aside and focus on being their for your loved one
  • Do not accuse them of wrong doing- they are hurting and don’t want to feel as if they are on trial.
  • Convey your message as one of love and concern. Use “I-language”
    • Do say: “I feel like you’ve been struggling with gambling and because I love you and care about you I want to know if there is anything I can do to help?”
    • Do say: “I am worried about you” — be sure to have a soft tone that conveys caring.
    • Don’t say: “You are an addict and need help.” — this often shuts people down.
  • Some people might not want to talk because they’re ashamed and could become defensive. If a person lies about having a problem, you can still say you care about your loved one and give them information on where to get help. Often times, gamblers will reflect on the conversation after, so even if you don’t get a desired response, the gambler could come back to your message of love and concern later.
  • Be prepared to give them resources. In Florida, the FCCG operates a non-profit with tons of great tools and resources designed to help people negatively affected by gambling.

 

If gambling is a problem for you or someone you love, give us a call at 888-ADMIT-IT.

 

About the Author

Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling