It is important to understand that lying, stealing and manipulation are classic symptoms of the substance use disorder and an indication of the progression of the disease. Just as one would not give money to someone with an alcohol disorder, giving money to a person with a gambling disorder can be very risky. Helping a person with a gambling disorder with money is called a “bailout” and frequently escalates the gambling and often increases the consequences for the disorder to spiral out of control. Persons with gambling disorders who seek professional counseling and enlist the help of support groups are most successful in their attempt at recovery.
A family member’s signs of living with a compulsive gambler:
— Bill collectors are calling
— The person of concern is away from home or work for long unexplained periods of time
— You don’t trust the person with money
— The person promises to stop gambling but doesn’t
— Financial problems due to gambling
— You are now hiding money for living expenses
— The person believes that gambling will bring them the family or the gambler personal wealth
— Legal problems due to gambling
— Searching the person’s clothing or checking up to see where the person is or has been
— The person hides their money
— Personality change in the person
— Consistent lying
— Guilt is shifted to you for the person’s behavior
— The person suffers from remorse and depression
— Gambling or betting has brought you to the point of threatening to break up the relationship
— Life feels unmanageable
Are You Living with a Compulsive Gambler?
— Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
— Is the person in question away from home for long, unexplained periods of time?
— Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
— Do you feel that this person cannot be trusted with money?
— Does this person in question faithfully promise that he or she will stop gambling, then beg and plead for another chance, yet gambles again and again?
— Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended to, until the last dollar was gone?
— Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties, or have unrealistic expectations that gambling will bring the family material comfort and wealth?
— Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses, or to win more?
— Does this person borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
— Has this person’s reputation ever suffered due to gambling, even to the extent of committing illegal acts to finance gambling?
— Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses, knowing that you and the rest of the family may go without food and clothing if you do not?
— Do you search this persons’ clothing or go through his or her wallet when the opportunity presents itself, or otherwise check on his or her activities?
— Do you hide his or her money?
— Have you noticed a significant change in the gambler as his or her gambling progresses?
— Does the person in question consistently lie to cover-up or deny his or her gambling activities?
— Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibilities for his or her gambling activities?
— Do you attempt to anticipate this persons’ moods, or try to control his or her life?
— Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling, sometimes to the point of threatening self destruction?
— Has the gambling ever brought you to the point of threatening to break up the family unit?
— Do you feel that your life together is a “nightmare”?