Gambling addiction is surrounded by myths that can make it more difficult to detect, accept, and take the proper steps to address the condition. If you begin to suspect that a loved one is suffering from a gambling problem or addiction, the following list of common myths and their corresponding facts may help shed light on the situation:
MYTH: People have to gamble everyday to become a problem gambler.
Those with an addiction to gambling may only gamble occasionally. Frequency isn’t a good basis for the condition. What matters is that other aspects of the person’s life begin to suffer from the activity. If a loved one’s gambling is causing problems to his finances, mental and emotional well-being, work, married life, and legal problems, then intervention may be needed to prevent the situation from escalating.
MYTH: Gambling is not a problem if the person can afford it.
Even if a person is wealthy enough to spend millions on gambling, the activity can still lead to negative consequences beyond money. Excessive gambling may interfere with personal values, and take time and attention away from family and friends. Relationships can become strained if gambling is left uncontrolled.
Additionally, financial problems aren’t the only reason why relationships break down. Many non-gambling spouses say that the lies and lack of trust are among the biggest factors that cause harm to their married lives.
MYTH: The spouse or partner drives problem gamblers to gamble.
<Those suffering from gambling addiction may rationalize their behavior by putting the blame on their partners. This is their way of avoiding responsibility, which includes seeking help to overcome their compulsion.
MYTH: If problem gamblers accumulate debt, the best way to help them is to take care of it on their behalf.
Providing a quick fix solution may seem to be the best course of action at the time. Unfortunately, this will only worsen the situation by encouraging him to go on with his habit and avoid genuine help.
If a loved one begins to show signs of a gambling addiction, immediate steps must be taken. The first step is to convince him that he has a gambling problem by showing how his actions have become detrimental to his well-being and relationships. You must also convince him that professional help is necessary. Dealing with the problem alone is difficult and might be counterproductive.
Getting him to promise to enroll in a gambling treatment program is not enough. Once he realizes his situation, he must immediately visit a rehab center to receive the professional counseling and support he needs to become a better person.