Many gamblers can enjoy gaming without it becoming a problem because they take part in responsible gambling, but over time some people tend to develop gambling addictions that have the potential of ruining their own lives, as well as the lives of their loved ones. Compulsive gambling, otherwise known as gambling addiction, is a progressive illness that may develop later even if one has gambled before and been okay after. This can happen to anyone regardless of the ages or even social backgrounds.
Gambling usually transitions from the fun and harmless diversion that a vast number of people enjoy to an unhealthy obsession with some pretty serious consequences. This makes gambling addiction just as serious as any other form of addiction. Doctors treat gambling as a brain disease, but while it may not be a communicable disease, its consequences are just as far reaching as any virus.
The Allure of the Online Space
The internet has become a haven for a whole lot of things, both good and bad. Gambling hangs in the middle though. It can certainly be a great and fun pastime or even a way to make a living especially if you are playing at regulated online portals. Either way, it is important to keep updated on gambling legislations in the US with sites such as OnlinePokerAmerica.com to ensure you only participate in legal activities.
On the flip side, online gambling presents more opportunities for problem gamblers and added to the fact that online gaming sites are readily accessible, it increases the risks of exposure for more and more people. This is especially so for the children of this generation who were born into the web age. The relatively high prevalence of casinos and ease of gambling on online gaming platforms will definitely have a hand in turning more people into problem gamblers.
What To Do
Naturally, the last thing you want to do when you notice that a member of your family or a friend has a gambling problem is to ignore it. This is a very risky bet, especially because the financial problems of your loved ones can easily become your own. You will, of course, need to save yourself first since it is only then that you will be in a better position to help them out.
It would probably be wise to have them join support groups where they can meet and interact with people who are undergoing the same things as they are. Support groups are effective in cases where you do not feel that you have the capacity to help because you do not understand what it is like to be a gambling addict. There are also numerous gambling help organizations out there such as GamblersAnonymous and GamCare who provide excellent free resources.
Equally important is financial support which should, in fact, be one of the first steps in helping a problem gambler. This could be in form of financial counseling. If it fails, the next logical move would be to step in to protect your loved one’s finances by taking control and making sure that the money or any assets are not easily available for them to use in gambling.
In some cases, they may even approach to ask for more money to gamble with. No matter how creative the stories they may give you are, it is important to stay focused on their overall wellbeing and let them deal with the consequences of their bad gambling habits. Never help facilitate a problem gambler’s addiction regardless of how close you are to them.
There are of course a number of other great interventions you could consider when helping a loved one who has a gambling problem but the ones mentioned above are a great place to start. Still, you will need to consider all relevant factors before you choose an appropriate way of dealing with it.