Recognising the Impact Gambling Has on Those Close to the Gambler

The act of gambling involves placing something of value on a random event with the intention of winning money or other things of value. Gambling is considered a form of risk-taking and can lead to emotional distress. It can also affect relationships, health, work and social life. It can lead to large debts and even to stealing and other forms of criminal activity. It is important to recognise the impact that gambling has on those close to the gambler and to seek help when this is necessary.

It is helpful to have an honest, non-confrontational discussion with someone who is concerned about your gambling. This can be difficult because the person may feel defensive. Try to make your message clear that you care about them and want to help them. You can suggest self-help strategies, peer support or gambling treatment as possible solutions.

Consider asking for help from a family member or friend who has experience of recovery from gambling problems. It is also helpful to join a gambling recovery group such as Gamblers Anonymous, which is based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other options for support include seeking legal and financial advice, or getting a therapist or counsellor. Learn to cope with unpleasant feelings without turning to gambling. Instead, you could practice relaxation techniques, exercise, spend time with friends who do not gamble or find alternative recreational and social activities. You could also reduce the risks by not using credit cards, taking out loans or carrying large sums of cash.

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