Support for Family & Friends

If you suspect that someone you care about is experiencing a problem with gambling you may have noticed a number of signs, including:

  • Money related signs
  • Time related signs
  • Personal issues
  • Control and/or manipulation
  • Guilt & Shame
  • Key points to remember
  • Answer some questions that will help you to determine whether someone you know has a problem with their gambling.

Money related signs

  1. Unexplained debt or borrowing
  2. Money disappearing
  3. Assets disappearing
  4. Losing wallets/money regularly
  5. Numerous loans
  6. Missing household items
  7. Phone calls from angry creditors
  8. Missing financial statements
  9. Juggling cash sources to pay bills

Time related signs

  1. No time for everyday activities
  2. Overuse of sick days and days off
  3. Spending longer to study gambling
  4. Taking an unusual amount of time for tasks (e.g. taking two hours to get milk from the corner store)
  5. Disappearing for amounts of time that they cannot account for

Personal Issues

  1. Decreased contact with friends
  2. Loss of interest in hobbies
  3. Family complaints about being emotionally shut out
  4. Avoidance of social events
  5. Moodiness, unexplained anger, depression

Control and/or Manipulation

  1. Secretiveness about activities
  2. Secret bank accounts/loans/credit cards
  3. Secret P.O. boxes
  4. Manipulation by threat or charm

Guilt & Shame

Problem gamblers often feel guilt and shame about their behaviour because they find it hard to control their gambling and are worried about the trouble their gambling causes.

Some think that if they keep gambling they can fix their problems by winning back their money. For others, the problem seems so big they do not know how to cope with it other than do nothing and hope it goes away.

Such feelings of shame and guilt can lead the individual to hide their problem, and withdraw from family and friends.

Key Points

  1. You cannot force your family member or friend to stop
  2. You are not to blame for their behavior
  3. The gambling behaviour is the problem, not the person.
  4. You can help by saying: NO to gambling and lying, and YES I care about you
  5. You have the right to feel safe, and emotionally and financially secure
  6. If taking action puts your safety or the safety of others at risk you may need professional help