How Disordered Gamblers Can Manage Stress

One look at a newspaper could tell anybody that we live in a period of great anxiety. For example, today, many Americans struggle with financial insecurity. During these times, our friends and loved ones can be our greatest allies. But even then, our relationships can also serve as sources of stress.

At the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, we recognize that such pressures sometimes pose a special challenge to disordered gamblers. Some forethought and careful planning, however, makes the challenges easier to overcome.

Financial Stressors

For problem gamblers, financial matters can be fraught with tension. Although betting might be the cause of their distress, they may still turn to gambling for relief from their anxiety. In the end, this results in an unhealthy pattern that can be difficult to break without professional support and treatment.

For example, if a problem gambler finds that they will likely not have enough funds for the rent this month, they might turn to skill-based gambling in Atlantic City as a solution. All too often, however, they end up in a worse situation than before, compounding their stress. In keeping with the vicious cycle that characterizes disordered gambling, they may once again turn to gambling to provide them with distraction and relief, damaging their finances even further.

Professionals often help disordered gamblers by reviewing their budgets and spending habits with them. By improving their money management, these gamblers often develop a better understanding of their self-destructive behavior and how it impacts their finances. Financial counseling can help them ultimately break the cycle of disordered behavior.

Interpersonal Stressors

Although disordered gamblers cannot control the behavior of their loved ones, friends, and coworkers, open communication – and some precautions – can help them manage their own behavior and proceed along the road to recovery. If someone realizes that their gambling behavior has gotten out of hand, they will often struggle with feelings of guilt and shame that can prevent them from reaching out for support. They may even lash out at those closest to them.

Sometimes, the people closest to a disordered gambler may actually enable their problematic behavior. Disordered gambling tends to run in the family by virtue of both habit and genetics. For these people, living with loved ones can mean staying immersed in an environment that encourages gambling. Even visiting one’s home town can make unhealthy gambling behaviors hard to resist – for example, it can be difficult to deny a beloved relative’s invitation to go casino gambling in Atlantic City. Counseling and other forms of therapy can give disordered gamblers the tools they need to help them communicate more effectively and improve their relationships.

Again, communication is key. Where possible, disordered gamblers should try to voice their concerns to loved ones so that they can steer clear of activities that may be hard to resist. If this is not feasible, people that struggle with disordered gambling may want to consider avoiding these potentially compromising situations altogether.

For support, treatment, and hope, call our 24-7 hotline, 1-800-GAMBLER.


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