It is difficult to tell if someone you love is suffering from a gambling addiction because there are typically no visible physical signs. It is easy to gamble from a mobile phone, tablet or laptop in the presence of loved ones who may simply think the person is browsing the web. This is why so many individuals refer to gambling addiction as a hidden or secret addiction.
With so many online gaming sites available and apps for mobile devices, online gambling has become very popular. For many, it is a relatively harmless activity but, for some, it can develop into a full-blown addiction that can quickly spiral out of control.
If you have suspicions that someone you love is spending too much time gambling online, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to help. The trouble is that many addicts are in denial about their problems and will try to hide what they are doing. So what can be done?
Expect Strong Denials
Denial is common among addicts who really do not want to face up to their problems. They may think you are overreacting and that the situation is not nearly as bad as you are making it out to be. Some will just not want to admit there is an issue for fear that they may be made to stop – they will aggressively deny the problem, even if they secretly suspect it themselves.
Some even believe that they could stop if they wanted to, and the idea that they may be suffering from addiction is preposterous. They may have no intention of stopping because they do not see it as a problem while some genuinely believe it is the only thing that gives them any pleasure. They may not have realised the harm that their addiction is doing to themselves and those around them.
The problem with this is that many addicts can quickly lose control of their gambling, especially if they continue to gamble after experiencing significant losses because they firmly believe that the next big win is just around the corner. It is not unusual for gambling addicts to bet every penny they have and begin to accumulate large debts.
You may find that your loved one becomes defensive or aggressive with you when you mention an addiction. This is because they do not think they have a problem or because they are afraid you might take their only pleasure away from them. It is important that you stay strong at this time, especially if you can see the damage that the gambling is causing.
If you are convinced that your loved one has an addiction and needs help, you have to be firm and continue to press the issue. If you find that this particular time is not the right time, do not be afraid to try again. Your loved one may be more open to the idea after he or she has suffered an unusually big loss and is swearing never to gamble again. This could be the perfect time to make him or her see sense.
Get Professional Help
Most family members and friends of an addicted individual have no experience of dealing with these issues and are unprepared for the experience. It can be helpful to speak to a professional about how to handle these situations. Addiction Helper is a free service offering advice and information to addicts and their families.
Our team of professional counsellors and therapists are on hand to help family members find suitable rehabilitation centres for their loved ones and to help them deal with various situations. If you need help, contact Addiction Helper today.