Helping a friend or relative with gambling addiction

If you think that a friend or relative has a gambling problem, try to talk to them about it. Try to remain calm and encourage them to be open and honest with you. If they do not want to talk to you tell them about services that are there to help. They may prefer to talk to somebody they donít know because they might feel ashamed of their behaviour and be unable to face you when they talk about their gambling addiction.

If your friend or relative is refusing to talk to you and will not accept that they have a problem, and you have tried to be reasonable with them, you must put yourself first. The reality is that they wonít stop until they want to. If you have a joint bank account, put restrictions on it to protect your money and do the same with credit cards. You can let them know that you will be there to support them when they admit to having a problem but until then you are not prepared to let your own life suffer.

You should not blame yourself for another personís problem. It is their choice to gamble and they must take responsibility for their actions. If you need support, donít suffer in silence. You can contact Gam-Anon, which is a service to support relatives and friends of those with gambling addictions run by Gamblers Anonymous.

Sometimes a person with gambling problems can feel so low that they contemplate taking their own life. Research shows that rates of depression and suicide are almost double the average amongst problem gamblers. If you are worried about a relative or friend, you can contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day.