Gambling Addiction Can Have Devastating Financial Consequences
The impacts of gambling addiction are far-reaching, with financial difficulties often being the first category that comes to mind. Loved ones of a compulsive gambler may be in denial about the severity of the addiction and the financial problems it is causing. When it comes to the issue of gambling, money is the drug that fuels the addiction. In the mind of those suffering from the disorder, every dollar is seen as an opportunity to win big with their next bet. The need to obtain money to continue gambling drives a vicious cycle that can lead the gambler to the brink of financial collapse, often dragging the family down with them.
Once the addiction has progressed, the financial repercussions can be overwhelming. Addicted gamblers report refinancing their homes, taking money from retirement funds or their children’s college savings, pawning or selling valuable items, and/or opening bank accounts and credit cards, often without the knowledge of their loved ones. In the later stages of this hidden addiction, desperate attempts to continue gambling may also include illegal acts such as theft and embezzlement, risking jail time and loss of employment.
When this situation comes to light, loved ones are often surprised and are faced with questions and doubts about how to address the situation. The Florida Problem Gambling HelpLine, 888-ADMIT-IT, offers a wealth of resources specifically for loved ones suffering from the impacts of gambling addiction. These resources include the FCCG’s Opportunities for Change workbooks and other self-help literature for loved ones, support group meetings specifically for loved ones, referrals to certified counselors, and non-urgent financial resources such as debt assistance, credit counseling services, and financial education.
If you and your family need urgent financial assistance, calling or texting 888-ADMIT-IT can connect you with emergency financial resources in your area that provide temporary support for clothing, food, housing/shelters, utilities, and more. The HelpLine also offers referrals to legal resources.
Dealing with the magnitude of the problem can be overwhelming, especially if you have just discovered it. But remember, it’s about financial survival for you and your loved one. Even in that, you are not alone! Many loved ones dealing with the impacts of gambling addiction find Gam-Anon meetings helpful, connecting with others in similar situations who can understand. Gam-Anon is exclusively designed for spouses, family members, or close friends of those suffering from gambling problems.
At this moment, it is important to take a deep breath and do the first thing on the list: ask for help by calling or texting the confidential and multilingual 24-hour HelpLine. The HelpLine specialists understand the weight of gambling addiction on loved ones and are ready to offer non-judgmental support to start your recovery.