While gambling has been a popular form of adult entertainment for centuries, it’s a shame more isn’t known about problem gambling and addiction. The truth is “compulsive gambling” is a disease that affects tens of millions of men and women from all over the world.
The presumption is that problem gambling only affects the actual gambler. While the repercussions of gambling addiction will undoubtedly destroy the lives of addiction sufferers, the collateral damage caused by problem gambling often gets overlooked. Collateral damage is a reference to the ways that addicted gamblers’ actions affect their families and personal relationships.
Since this is a topic of great importance with online gambling access exploding all over the world, it would seem prudent to take a look and how problem gambling affects relationships.
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What is a Gambling Addiction?
Prior to having a discussion about the collateral damage that’s caused by problem gambling, it’s important to define gambling addiction. Gambling addiction is a disease/disorder per the medical and psychiatric communities. It’s a disorder that causes the addiction sufferer to lose control over their gambling activities. Here are a few signals that someone might be in the throes of this horrible disorder:
- Increased frequency of gambling sessions
- Obsession with finding financial resources for gambling because of massive losses
- Growing financial problems
- Inability to focus on responsibilities like going to school/work and paying bills
- Abandonment of prior hobbies and activities
- Mounting legal issues – criminal, divorce
- Destruction of key relationships with family members, partners, and friends
For the remainder of this article, the focus will fall on the last item on this list.
Ways Family Members and Friends Can Be Affected
Caring people will always be affected by the actions of the people they care most about. When someone falls prey to gambling addiction, it’s not always apparent right off the bat. Gambling addiction is a progressive disease that gets worse with time.
When it becomes apparent to family and friends that a loved one has lost control over their gambling, the issue has probably reached significant levels. The gambler themselves may have already incurred significant damage financially, emotionally, and otherwise. That is what ends up falling into the laps of loved ones.
The Financial Effects
From a financial perspective, the financial effects of gambling losses can devastate a family. Without knowing, a wife or partner might find themselves facing the loss of a home and constant pursuit by creditors.
Many times, financial losses can result in families not being able to cover basic necessities like food, car expenses, and utilities. It’s also no small thing when a spouse’s own creditworthiness gets called into question. All of this can cause a lot of resentment, stress, and anxiety within the family unit. Over time, relationships get fractured.
The Emotional Effects
Emotionally is where a problem gambler’s actions can devastate everyone around them. This is especially true if the problem gambler serves as the center of their relationships.
When gambling problems first become apparent, the tension between spouses or partners is usually the match that ignites many other emotional issues. The source of much of the tension typically revolves around the loss of financial security. When spouses/partners start to feel their financial security slipping away, they often feel betrayed. Eventually, other emotions pup up such as anger, resentment, guilt, and depression.
To be clear, kids are not immune to the effects of a parent’s gambling problems. They might not fully understand what’s going on, but kids do feed off the vibes being put forth by their parents. If parents are struggling, kids are aware of it and lose their own sense of personal and emotional security.
It’s worth noting that friends can also suffer collateral damage from those who have gambling problems. Friendship can get strained when the problem gambler suddenly pulls away or becomes distant. Issues can also arise if problem gamblers seek financial help from friends to cover their gambling debts. Unpaid borrowings can ruin friendships. The answer no can cause resentment.
How Family and Friends Can Help
The worst thing any family member or friend can do is enable their loved one’s addictive behavior in any way. They must resist the temptation to help resolve money issues or make it easy to keep gambling.
The reality is the compulsive gambler needs professional help. If a compulsive gambler does a lot of their gambling online, they should be able to find problem gambling affiliate sites that work with no deposit casinos like www.nodepositbonus.cc.
Another source of help comes from addiction treatment facilities that work with compulsive gamblers. This can be a great option for families because many rehabs and therapists offer family therapy programs. These programs are designed to help address family issues and mend relationships.Note: Family and friends can be a great source of help. However, there is a fine line between helping and enabling. Caution is required. If someone you know might have a gambling problem, don’t be afraid to extend a helping hand.