Help for Family Members
Are you concerned that someone you love might be gambling too much?
The first thing you might be wondering is if your family member really does have gambling disorder. Remember, gambling disorder can affect anyone, and though certain things might make someone more likely to experience gambling disorder, gambling disorder does not discriminate. Educate yourself by learning to recognize the signs, and from there we can help you move forward. Gam-Anon also offers support groups for those whose loved ones are struggling with gambling disorder.
For some people gambling can be a serious problem. There are social, financial and emotional costs that affect their lives and the lives of their loved ones. If you are concerned about the impact gambling is having on the life of someone you know, please call us. We understand the problem. We can help.
To receive information about having a family member with gambling disorder and next steps towards recovery via mail, click here. If you would prefer the mailing to be confidential, click the “Confidential” box. Please note that we can only send information to someone who has requested it themselves, we cannot mail information to another individual on your behalf. If you would prefer the mailing to be confidential, click the “Confidential” box, and to receive information via email enter your email address and include in a note in the bottom box that you prefer an email.
you are not alone
If your loved one is struggling with gambling disorder, you are not alone. Council staff can provide support via phone or chat, and we can also help you to connect with others who have suffered the effects of a loved one’s gambling disorder, and have valuable understanding and insight to share. We also offer a wonderful, free Weekend Retreat each May for problem gamblers in early recovery and their loved ones.
Dos and dont for partners of problem gamblers
Tips from the Connectitcut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services
- Seek the support of others with similar problems; attend a self-help group for families such as Gam-Anon.
- Explain problem gambling to the children.
- Recognize your partner’s good qualities.
- Remain calm when speaking to your partner about his or her gambling and its consequences.
- Let your partner know that you are seeking help for your own sake because of the way gambling affects you and the children.
- Understand the need for treatment of problem gambling despite the time it may involve.
- Take control of family finances; review bank and credit card statements.
- Preach, lecture, or allow yourself to lose control of your anger.
- Make threats or issue ultimatums unless you intend to carry them out.
- Exclude the gambler from family life and activities.
- Expect immediate recovery, or that all problems will be resolved when the gambling stops.
- Bail out the gambler.
- Cover-up or deny the existence of the problem to yourself, the family, or others.
Find more tips from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, including What to say if someone’s gambling concerns you, here.
Additional Resources for Families
Remember, you can always contact the Council for additional resources, and to find a compassionate listener who understands. We would also encourage you to visit our useful links page for additional resources.
- If you are a parent concerned about your child’s gambling, “Problem Gambling: A Guide for Parents” is a great resource from the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario.
- Project Turnabout also offers a wonderful guide for family members “Hope and Help for Families“
“If you’re a loved one and you have a family member struggling, it can be hard. Addicts don’t want to talk about their problem. I would say you can’t force someone, just let them know you’re there to help them. If they ever want to talk about it, there are support groups like Gam-Anon for friends and loved ones of problem gamblers. I would just say reach out to them, talk to them, let them know that you’re there to talk about it.” – Andrew
“I want to thank the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling for addressing, the devious, pervasive issue of behavioral addiction. It’s not an easy issue to explain to people, but I know firsthand that your work is extremely important.” –Lisa