Gambling is often described as the “invisible addiction.” Unlike a substance use disorder, it does not always have obvious signs (e.g., alcohol on the breath, seeming “strung out”), and it can thus be more easily hidden. This is particularly true now due to the development of online and mobile betting, which can be done in secrecy. Problem gamblers experience feelings of desperation and hopelessness and are likely to contemplate suicide. Here are some signs that your partner or loved one may have a gambling problem:
A gambling addiction can destroy one’s finances. It is not uncommon for your loved one to take out loans, open credit cards, and dive into savings. Does your loved one become defensive when confronted about money? Have you seen any unexplained, large deductions? Have they taken steps to hide information about their finances from you?
Is the affected individual spending more time away from home without explanation? Are they glued to their TV, computer, or cell phone for hours on end? Are they secretive about their internet use? Is the individual “there but not present”? Disengaged?
The emotions that you experience while gambling can be very unpredictable. One moment you might think you’ll be able to purchase a new home, while seconds later you may not know where your next meal is coming from. Have you noticed your partner or loved one become extremely positive one second and upset and angry the next? Are you catching your loved one lying more frequently?
We believe families (including parents, spouses, and other important friends) are vital to the problem gambler’s process of overcoming addiction. We also know that families need to heal too and that the damage caused by gambling places an incredible strain on families and relationships. At SBS, we offer many opportunities for families to not only support their loved one's treatment objectives, but to work toward rebuilding the precious trust lost during the course of the addiction.
Screening - Gathering as much information as possible about current gambling behavior and its toll on the family.
Assessment - Evaluating contributing factors of gambling disorder to arrive at correct diagnosis and action plan.
Individualized Treatment Plan - Creating a realistic and practical plan according to the clients specific needs.
Comprehensive Family Work - Focusing on issues of boundary setting, addiction, shared responsibility and accountability.