If you are reading this blog, you are probably concerned that someone close to you is gambling too much. Perhaps you have noticed some changes in their behaviour or financial situation but you aren’t sure whether you should be concerned or not. We will take you through some of the things to look for and if you think their gambling is a concern, what steps you should take next.
Take a minute
Before we get too far, we want you to take a moment to prepare yourself. Depending on the signs, you may strongly believe that someone close to you is gambling too much and, if this is the case, it can be tough to deal with. You may feel angry or hurt, this is a normal reaction and you have every right to feel this way. Before you do anything try to take some time to process and look after yourself. While it can be tempting to act straight away, it will be better for everyone, including yourself, if you have a strategy before approaching the person. It’s probably best to seek help from a counsellor who can talk you through this and we will take you through some options in a minute.
Some of the signs to look out for:
- Are they secretive about how they have been spending time?
- Are they secretive about their finances?
- Are they not sharing passwords for their bank accounts?
- Do they always collect the mail and prevent you from seeing bills?
- Have you ever noticed money missing from shared accounts, or elsewhere?
- Do they sometimes ask to borrow money and can’t give a good reason as to why?
- Do they promise that they will stop gambling, yet continue to gamble?
- Do they sell their valuables for unexplained reasons?
- Do they go through periods of appearing to have large amounts of money, followed by periods when they are low on cash?
- Are they easily agitated?
- Do they seem ‘distant’ or ‘avoidant’?
- Are they disinterested in family/sports/work commitments?
How are you feeling?
When people notice someone close to them is experiencing problems with gambling they may experience mixed emotions. It can be a relief to finally understand what is going on or perhaps you are feeling shocked or surprised. Feeling a range of emotions is normal.
What to do next
At this stage getting some help is a great idea, try not to confront the person straight away, as it is likely emotions will be running high and it could make the situation more difficult.
Speaking to a professional can be a great first step, counsellors are available online or on the telephone by calling 1800 858 858, a lot of people find this is a good starting point as they can speak to someone at a time and place that works for them. Chatting to a counsellor is free and confidential, they are available 24/7, all of them are trained professionals and they are here to support anyone being affected by gambling.
If you aren’t’ ready to speak to someone yet we also have a lot of information on helping others and looking after yourself that you can refer to anytime.
You may also consider joining our online forum, where you can chat with significant others, getting support from those who have similar experiences.
Just remember you are not alone and support is available!