What Should You Do If a Loved One Has a Gambling Addiction?

July 13, 2023 Kevin Anyango


It is one thing to struggle with a gambling addiction; it is a new challenge when dealing with a loved one’s gambling addiction. As someone who has experienced gambling addiction, knowing the depths it took me to makes me worry because I understand the devastating impact it can have on every aspect of life. I also realize how hard having a loved one with a gambling addiction is.

Despite the fear and worry, I am in a unique position to guide others in recognizing the signs of and supporting loved ones living with a gambling addiction. This is a challenging and emotional journey. Therefore, if you suspect that someone close to you is struggling with gambling addiction, some indicators can help confirm your suspicions.

These may be signs of gambling addiction:

  • Financial difficulties, excessive borrowing, and loans, especially from someone diligent at paying their bills
  • An indulgence in gambling-related activities
  • Neglect of their responsibilities like their job or family
  • Unexplained absences, especially when they are prolonged

Talking to Loved Ones with a Gambling Addiction

Recognizing signs is the easy part; confronting a loved one about their gambling addiction is extremely difficult. You need to approach it with sensitivity and empathy. Therefore, ensure that you talk to them in the right place and time – don’t blast them in front of people because they will get defensive.

You must also express concern and empathy, do not sound accusatory since the goal is to help them, not drive them away. Before approaching a loved one with a gambling addiction, ensure you have dealt with any feelings of judgment or criticism you might have. Instead, have an open and honest conversation, encourage communication, and create a safe space for them to open up about their struggle. Don’t forget to offer your support throughout the recovery journey.

Supporting a Loved One Through Gambling Addiction Recovery

Ongoing support is the foundation of the recovery process. Your loved one needs as much support as possible; therefore, encourage them to partake in healthy distractions, help them learn how to practice self-care, celebrate their milestones, and remember to be patient and understanding through their recovery journey.

Even as you offer your support, you are encouraged to set healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your loved one and prevent a situation where you enable their addiction, such as providing monetary support for gambling.

Getting Help for an Addicted Loved One

Gambling addiction recovery takes more than sheer will and support from friends and family. It is important to seek professional assistance for proper addiction treatment, therapy, and counseling.

If you suspect a loved one might be struggling with gambling addiction, recognizing the signs can help you determine the best way to get help and support them through every small step toward recovery.  

APA Reference
Anyango, K. (2023, July 13). What Should You Do If a Loved One Has a Gambling Addiction?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, July 23 from

Author: Kevin Anyango

Kevin Anyango likes to say, "I am still me, no matter my mental health." Find Kevin on Twitter

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