Interventions shouldn’t include a room full of people. The overwhelming sight of many people who have been hurt by a gambling addict’s behaviors could induce more shame than they are prepared to cope with. Gambling addiction is, in many ways, a coping mechanism, for stress, shame, and concurrent mental health issues. However, when a loved one is unaware of the depth of their problem and even more blind to the way their problem is affecting others, a visual representation of the effect of their gambling addiction can be a powerful motivation. Start with the closest friends and family members, then utilize letters or messages from coworkers, associates, and acquaintances who want to air their concern, as well as their love and support.
Recognize The Person Beyond The Gambling Addiction
Addiction of any kind is a disease. People, when they are diagnosed with a disease, do not become that disease. Though we call someone with a gambling addiction a gambling addict, there is more to who they are than the gambling addiction itself, even when it seems as though the gambling addiction has completely consumed them. Beyond the gambling addiction, there is someone whom all of you share a deep love for. There have been moments of joy and celebration, support and unconditional love. Your loved one is not lost, but temporarily misplaced behind a wall of mental illness. Encourage everyone to speak openly about the way they see their loved one, beyond the gambling. Chances are, your loved one has forgotten who they truly are and their self-esteem has suffered as a result.
Be Prepared For Denial
Denial can run strong, like a river. You will not be able to stop the flow of denial, but together with your loved one, you can begin to build a bridge to cross it. Denial serves a distinct purpose in the life of someone with a gambling addiction. Denial creates time and space between accepting responsibility for their actions. Denial is also a blinder to the severity of their problem. Addicts, of all kinds, are prone to statements like “It isn’t that bad” or “I can take care of this on my own”. You do not want an intervention to be a public hearing or shaming. You do, however, want the intervention to be a wake up call to the reality of the situation. Have each participant list out money borrowed, stolen, or financial problems which have been caused by your loved one’s gambling addiction. Seeing the numbers in black and white, in addition to the pain on loved one’s faces, will be a shocking realization.
Have A Treatment Plan Ready
Broken in mind, body, and spirit, your loved one will hopefully be ready for treatment. Have a plan ready to take them to treatment immediately. If you have access to their belongings, you may even want to pack a bag ahead of time. Assure them everything will be taken care of. As the friends and family members, you want your loved one to be taken care of first.
Castle Craig offers residential treatment programmes for gambling addiction and concurrent mental health disorders. Spending time in our comfortable environment restores patients to optimum health of mind, body, and spirit, with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in life. With over 25 years of experience serving over 10,000 patients Castle Craig is a trusted provider. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 231 5861. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | July 18, 2017