How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction

May 16, 2023

People celebrating being free of a gambling addiction

Is your loved one struggling with a gambling addiction? These effective tips teach how to help someone with a gambling addiction and seek treatment.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction

  • How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction

  • Understanding Gambling Addiction

  • Approaches to Helping Someone with a Gambling Addiction

  • Resources for Helping Someone with a Gambling Addiction

  • Conclusion

  • FAQs

Did you know that more than 80% of American adults gamble each year?

It can be anything from playing poker or slots, visiting casinos, betting on sports, online event wagering, and more. But what many people don't realize is that what starts as a fun activity can turn into a full-blown addiction that wreaks havoc on their lives and everyone around them.

Compulsive gambling is a sneaky addiction that creeps up on you as you become more involved in the world of gambling. The urge to gamble can become overwhelming and lead to serious problems like financial ruin, mental health issues, and conflicts within families.

The effects of gambling addiction can be devastating, not just for the individuals themselves but also for their loved ones, colleagues, and friends. If you suspect someone you care about is struggling with a gambling problem, knowing how to help can be tough. Should you confront them directly or offer support from a distance?

In this article, we'll explore some practical ways to assist someone with a gambling addiction. We'll discuss how to recognize the signs of addiction, offer emotional support, and encourage them to seek professional treatment. 

Steps to Help Someone overcome a Gambling Addiction

We all know someone who enjoys a little flutter now and then, but what happens when that harmless fun turns into something more serious?

When gambling takes control and becomes an addiction, it can have devastating effects on individuals and their loved ones. That's where you can step in.

And you don't need to be an expert to make a difference. All it takes is empathy, understanding, and a willingness to offer support.

Here are some powerful ways we can support someone on their journey to recovery from a gambling addiction

Understanding Gambling Addiction

All addictions are complicated and, if not appropriately addressed, can make it even worse. Before helping someone with an addiction, you must understand how critical and sensitive gambling addiction is. 

When looking for ways to help, understand gambling addiction in depth and from every perspective. Here are some things to keep in mind when you set out to help a gambling addict. 

  • Educate yourself by learning common signs and symptoms and the available treatment options. Understanding the nature of the problem will help you provide informed support without overstepping.

  • Look out for signs of gambling addiction, such as excessive gambling, secrecy, financial problems, and changes in behavior or mood such as irritability, impatience, depression, disputes, and so on.

  • Listen to them without being judgemental so they won’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about their behavior. Express your concern and let them know you're there to support them.

  • Encourage them to seek help and make them understand that gambling addiction is a serious issue that must be dealt with appropriately. Offer to help them find resources and accompany them to appointments if they're willing. You could also explore Birches Health’s virtual counseling that can help someone with a gambling addiction.

  • If the person's addiction is causing harm to you or others, it's important to set boundaries to protect yourself. Let them know what behaviors you will not tolerate and stick to those boundaries.

  • Refrain from providing money or participating in activities that could enable their gambling. It's essential to promote responsible behavior and encourage healthier alternatives.

  • Be patient with the recovery process and give it some time. Also, make sure you take care of yourself. Supporting someone with a gambling addiction can be challenging.

Approaches to Helping Someone with a Gambling Addiction

Offering help to someone with a gambling addiction can be tricky. You should not come across as someone who is overbearing or even overstepping your boundaries.

So, it’s best you approach with caution and for that, here are some practical strategies that can truly make a positive difference in their path to recovery.

Approaching the Person with Compassion and Understanding

Gambling addicts may not even realize that gambling has become a big problem and they've lost control. They try to rationalize all their unhealthy behavior which has put them in a tough spot. And if you try to approach someone like this purely with logic, they will reject it and they might even get to the point of avoiding you.

This is why, you should first let them know how much you care about their well-being and how concerned you are. If they feel your emotional connection, they'll be more likely to open up about their addiction.

Next, explain that you're there to help them reduce their addiction. Keep the conversation open and let them know you're a support system they can rely on.

When you start the conversation, give them time to process what you're saying. Be patient and really listen to them without judging. It's important to understand their perspective and show that you're there to support them.

Try to understand from their perspective, and don’t belittle their thoughts. The best support you can offer them is to listen attentively without judging them

By following these steps, you'll be on the right track to helping someone with a gambling addiction. Remember, empathy and understanding go a long way in making a positive impact on their journey to recovery.

Encouraging Them to Seek Professional Help

Encouraging gambling addicts to seek help is one of the most challenging steps, as many people go into denial and don’t want to talk about their problems openly.

First, you can share some information with them, such as the types of treatment therapies available, support groups, rehab facilities. 

Additionally, normalize seeking professional help. In fact, some licensed professionals or counselors know how to deal with addicts without being too pushy. Platforms like Birches Health have a team of professionals with expertise in dealing with gambling addicts. 

Joining a Support Group

Support groups provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where people can share their experiences, struggles, and successes.

Being part of a group of people going through similar challenges can help individuals feel less isolated and alone in their addiction. Support groups can also provide practical advice and tips for managing cravings, avoiding triggers, and coping with the consequences of gambling.

But encouraging a gambling addict to join a support group can be a sensitive process, but with the right approach, you can help them see the benefits of such a group. 

Find a suitable time to have a calm and non-confrontational conversation. It's important to choose a moment when the person is receptive. You can also go to the extent of offering to accompany them to their first support group meeting.

But remember that It's essential to respect their autonomy and readiness to join a support group. Be patient and understanding if they are hesitant or unwilling at first. Continue to offer support and gently revisit the idea at a later time.

Getting Professional Help for Yourself

Before becoming a source of support and comfort to your close one, ensure you’re equipped to deal with the situations. Getting educated about gambling addiction, withdrawal, support groups, and professionals is essential to help yourself. 

The process of offering assistance should not have a toll on your mental health. Therefore, step in wisely. 

Resources for Helping Someone with a Gambling Addiction

Here are a few resources that you can access to seek help for people suffering from gambling addictions. 

Birches Health

At Birches Health, a dedicated care team ensures personalized, expert treatment. Birches Health started because we know it can be hard to find gambling counseling.

Asking your loved one to seek virtual counseling can be an easier approach to convince them to get on the road to recovery.  The best part? They can access care anytime, day or night, right from the comfort of their own home. No need to travel or disrupt your routine.

Click here to schedule an appointment.

Gambling Addiction Hotlines and Support Groups

The National Council on Gambling Problems operates a gambling helpline number. The help is available 24/7, and all information is kept confidential. The network includes contact centers operating in 50 states and US territories with appropriate resources. 

Treatment Centers and Programs

Treatment centers, rehabs, and programs are tailored for addicts who need serious care for their addiction issues. The treatment centers come with 24X7 support and care to assist them at every step of their recovery.

Self-Help Books and Materials

Reading self-help books and using other materials can be a good option for those who prefer to work on their recovery independently or who may not have access to support groups or therapy. These learning materials contain practical tips for managing cravings, avoiding triggers, and coping with the consequences of gambling.

Take a Next Step

It can be difficult to assist someone who has a gambling addiction, but it's crucial to approach the problem with sympathy, comprehension, and a desire to seek expert treatment. People with a gambling addiction can beat it and have happy, meaningful lives with the proper treatment and services.

Birches Health can help you with reliable assistance and guidance from licensed healthcare professionals. 


Q. Can a gambling addict ever stop?

Answer: Yes, a compulsive gambler can eventually stop gambling, but it requires a lot of effort, support, and a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes.

Q. What percentage of gambling addicts recover?

Answer: There is no specific percentage of gambling addicts who recover since it can vary depending on factors. However, research suggests that many individuals with gambling addiction can recover with appropriate treatment and support. 

Q. Can gambling addicts be cured?

Answer: Gambling addiction is a treatable condition. The goal of treatment is to help the individual manage their urges to gamble, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and rebuild their lives.

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