Gambling addiction can take a huge toll on your relationships and your family finances. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with a compulsive gambling disorder, approaching them the right way is key to having a successful conversation. Suggesting that a loved one get treatment is a challenge, but if they know you are there to offer support and with their best interests at heart, they may be more likely to see out professional help.
If you launch right in and begin making demands -- that your loved one curtail their behavior, that they enter counselling or that they take some other action, they could close down entirely. Open a dialogue and move slowly as you talk about their gambling and some solutions.
Talk About Yourself, Too
Let them know how their gambling behavior is impacting you. Take responsibility for any role you've played (family members are often unconscious enablers - acknowledging this can open some pathways to discussion). This approach keeps the dialogue open and can prevent your loved one from becoming overly defensive or argumentative.
If your loved one is an adult, you can't remove all access to gambling; but you can make sure the funds you need for running your household and life are sequestered in a safe bank account with limited access. You can also do your best to help them avoid possible triggers, whether it be specific social situations, emotional distress, or sometimes as extreme as removing triggering items from the home. These may vary depending on your loved one's specific interests and needs, but encountering triggers makes it more difficult to quit an addiction.
While a dramatic intervention may look good on television, its not necessarily the best approach to discussing concerning gambling behaviour with your loved one for the first time. Interventions are often recommended as a last resort. You could end up putting the person on the defensive and shutting down any chance of them listening to you if you approach them in a group. They may end up feeling ganged up on, betrayed and stressed (which could lead to more of the addictive behavior).
It may take time, but opening up a dialogue with your loved one can help you both in many ways, and could help you seek out counselling together. A compulsive gambling disorder won't go away on its own -- you'll need treatment for a true recovery. Get in touch today to get the tools you need to speak with your loved one about gambling and to forge a newer, healthier relationship.