Like any addiction, the side effects of an addiction to gambling can be far reaching. The fallout from this addiction not only effects the addiction sufferer but family and loved ones as well.
Gambling’s Effect on the Individual
A gambling addiction effects the sufferer in many ways:
- Mental health
Most addictions affect the pocket book, and a gambling addiction does as well. Many struggling will spend down their bank accounts and then borrower funds looking to replenish and repay their debts.
Often thinking that if they could just get that next win, they would be able to pay back all the debt they have incurred.
Sufferers will frequently result to lying or deception in order to hide their addiction and the damage resulting from it. They have tried to quit and may be ashamed that it has such a hold on them.
The stress and loss of sleep can lead to depression and anxiety, soon taking a physical toll on the addict as well.
The combination of the physical side effects along with the obsession that occurs with an addiction may eventually affect the sufferer’s employment.
Lack of sleep, leading to physical illness and stress, resulting in either missed days or termination. It can be a vicious cycle and very difficult to stop.
Gambling’s Effect on the Family
In addition to the strain on the individual, the consequences of gambling addiction may also affect the sufferer’s family:
- Financial strain
- Family Life
The financial strain to one’s bank account and the increased debt that occurs may become insurmountable at some point.
It is not unusual to hear of a family losing their vehicles, possessions and property, including their home. The stress that occurs on the family due to this loss is difficult.
The losses may begin to affect the relationships within the home. Marriages can become strained as both parties attempt to work within the new financial limits that have resulted from the gambling addiction.
If deception has now become a part of the marital relationship, husbands and wives may begin to argue more frequently.
Increasing conflict in the home affects not only the parents but the children as well. A mother suffering from an addiction to gambling is often spending less time with her children as the addiction becomes stronger.
Younger children may not understand the changing dynamics occurring within the home and feel that they are somehow to blame.
Hope for Individuals and Families
It is important to remember that an individual is able to overcome an addiction to gambling. Getting help, stopping the addiction, and returning to a life that is focused on family and work is possible. It is important for the individual to seek out professional help through a therapist, interventionist, treatment center or support group.
If the marriage and the family have been negatively affected by gambling it is important to seek out counseling for all of the family that is suffering.
Couples therapy will allow both parties to address and work through hurt that has occurred as a result of the addiction. Working to re-establish trust within the marriage is a pivotal step in the recovery process.
Family therapy will do the same, approaching not just the parents but also the children and allowing them to return to a place of joy and healing.
Changing the atmosphere within the home to that of safety and peace for the children will be will be crucial to the recovery process for all of you within the home.
If you or your loved one are suffering from an addiction to gambling be comforted in knowing that there is hope for you. Seek out the support of professional counselors, treatment centers and support groups. Take that first step toward healing and it will have a positive effect on you, your marriage and your family.
About the author: Jane McGuire is the Director of Content at Eating Disorder Hope & Addiction Hope. Jane graduated from Eastern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jane believes that everyone has a story of trial, that when shared, can be used to benefit and encourage someone else who is struggling to find hope and direction.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 30, 2016
Published on AddictionHope.com