If you are concerned about your loved one’s gambling habits, you may be wondering what you can do to help them overcome their addiction. There are many ways you can support your loved one’s efforts to stop gambling, including offering your support and encouragement. A support group can also help the problem gambler feel less alone in his or her struggles. Family members should also be supportive and encourage the problem gambler to seek professional help if necessary. Take their talk of self-harm or suicide seriously.
Professionals have developed criteria for determining if someone is suffering from gambling problems. Many use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM lists Gambling Disorder alongside other addictive behaviors. In other words, the DSM describes someone who has repeated unsuccessful attempts to control their gambling as “gambling disorder.”
Counseling can also help individuals understand the reasons they gamble, which can make them less prone to the disease. Despite the fact that there are no FDA-approved medicines to treat gambling disorders, some medications may relieve the symptoms of co-occurring conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Family and friends can also provide support during recovery. However, it is ultimately up to the individual to take the decision to stop gambling for good. So how can you stop it?
The first step in recovering from a gambling addiction is strengthening your support network. Reach out to friends and family and make new friends who are not involved in the problem. Volunteering for a worthwhile cause or joining a peer support group can be helpful. Alternatively, you can join Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and participate in a 12-step recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The only difference is that you need to find a sponsor, a person who has been in your shoes and can give you support.