You probably know that gambling can lead to loss of money, but have you ever sat down to think about how it affects the family dynamic. Losing big doesn’t simply account for finances. It can ruin relationships ranging from parents, children, and siblings to friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Families can be affected in many ways:
- Money problems – The most obvious side effect of a problem gambler. This can lead to unpaid bills, diminished credit, and even bankruptcy and eviction.
- Relationship problems – Sometimes, addicted individuals will lie about where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with. Trying to hide their habit (with intentions of keeping their loved ones unaffected) is another common occurrence. This creates trust issues which can lead to arguments, fights, and even divorce if it becomes serious enough.
Children can also be negatively impacted by a parent who has problem gambling habits. Sometimes kids can feel neglected, depressed, angry, or stressed if they feel like they are a lesser priority than their parent’s habits. This can lead to children self medicating to alleviate their woes and decrease their depression, which can lead to bad habits forming within kids.
- Other common ways families are affected include emotional problems, isolation, health declining, domestic abuse, violence, and other negative situations.
What should I look for?
Some common warning signs of a gambling addict include:
- Borrowing funds
- Defensive Attitude
- Increased risk-taking
- Suicidal thoughts
- And many other indicators.
Keep an eye on your loved one. If they are constantly trying to answer the phone or read the mail (or email) first; that is a red flag. They may be trying to hide bills or other paper trails that relate to their addiction. Sometimes, gamblers begin to lose touch with even their closest friends and family. Gambling becomes priority #1… and 2, 3, 4 and 5 as well. Their intentions are usually harmless, but their actions are uncontrollable.
A small loss can become many small losses and that’s when the snowball effect kicks in. Like a cat chasing its tail, gamblers constantly try to regain losses and consider their games as skill based gambling. Atlantic City sees a lot of this and expects to see more once sports betting becomes legal. Even senior gambling in Atlantic City has become problematic. Individuals sometimes feel entitled to gamble their wages away due to all of the hard work they put in over the years. The problem is; that can ruin your health, your relationships, and your life. Treatment, hope, and support is available by calling 1-800-GAMBLER or visiting our resources at http://800gambler.org today.
Council on Compulsive Gambling NJ
3635 Quakerbridge Rd., Suite 7
Hamilton, NJ 08619