How to Help a gambler: 10 Effective Tips

Helping a gambler is essential so that he can overcome his problem with gambling and avoid its negative consequences in the long run.

The gambling is a mental illness classified as an addictive disorder, in which the person suffering from it feels enormous needs to play.

How to help a gambler

As with substance use, overcoming an addiction to gambling is often a difficult task that requires high motivation and strong willpower.

What exactly is pathological gambling?

How to help a gambler

The gambling is understood as a phenomenon that prevents a person from being able to resist impulses to play.

However, the cataloging of this alteration as a psychological illness has created some controversy over the last few years.

First, gambling was classified as a disorder of impulse control in which the person who suffers from it does not have enough resources to resist their impulses to play.

However, a large number of investigations later reformulated the basis of this mental illness, and it was concluded that gambling is an addictive disorder.

Thus, gambling is not characterized by a simple inability to control the impulses to play, but the person suffering from this psychological disorder develops an addiction to gambling.

In this way, gambling is in many ways similar to chemical addiction or addiction.

While a drug addict seeks and desires at all times to consume a substance for his well-being and gratification, a gambler does the same with gambling.

Therefore, pathological gambling ends up as a behavioral addiction, in which the person needs to play in a repetitive way to cover the demands of gratification of his brain.

When a gambler is deprived of his most precious desire, that is, gambling, he may experience sensations similar to those that a drug addict suffers when he cannot consume.

With this more than brief review on this mental disorder, we clearly see that the person suffering from gambling is hooked to the game, so overcoming this addiction is always going to be a very complicated task.

10 Tips for helping a gambler

  1. Understand your problem

The first step we must take if we want to help a ludopath to reverse his situation is to understand well what a lopopathy is.

As mentioned earlier, gambling is an addiction, a behavioral addiction, but that, after all, there is little difference in addiction to substances.

In this way, we must understand that a gambler is hooked to the game in the same way as a cocaine dealer is to cocaine.

Understanding your problem is a key element as people who are not addicted to any substance or behavior can cost a lot to understand how someone can get so caught up in something.

However, we will be unable to help a gambler if we are unable to understand what is happening to him and what role the game has in his head.

It may seem very reprehensible for a person to become addicted to the game or some substance, creating problems both for himself and for those around him.

However, if we let ourselves be led by possible reproaches or recriminations towards the person suffering from gambling, we will be very difficult to help.

Therefore, it is important that we focus on the present, the situation that is touching live and the difficulties it may present in relation to the game.

  1. Ask without judging

So far we know that gambling is an addiction in which the person is forced to play to respond to their psychological demands.

However, not all gambling addicts present their addiction in an identical way, so we must investigate how the gambling lives the person we want to help.

Likewise, we must know what thoughts the ludópata has about his addiction.

Do you identify the game as pathological? Do you consider yourself addicted to gambling? Are you aware of the problems that arise from it? Do you want to change your personal situation? Would you like to stop playing and live a more organized life?

All these aspects we must identify them before starting to help you, as depending on your personal situation will be necessary to do some things or others.


It will be very different if we want to help a gambler who identifies his relationship with gambling as an addiction and who is convinced that he wants to  overcome it, than if we want to help a gambler who does not even acknowledge having a problem with gambling.

In order to do this, it is important to ask questions like the ones we have formulated previously without making any value judgment previously.

It is better that the person respond according to their own thoughts than based on what you say.

For example, if a gambler denies having a problem with the game, it will not do for you to say yes and you have to stop playing, as he will continue to  analyze your relationship with the game based on your previous thoughts.

No matter how insistent, no gambler will stop playing if he does not want to do it, just as no drug addict will stop consuming if he does not propose it.

  1. Relate the game to problems

If from the previous section we find that the person suffering from gambling does not identify gambling as a problem, we should make it look skillful.

As we have said before, if a gambler is not aware of suffering an addiction to the game, it will not do us any good to say it.

In this way, there are more effective techniques than constantly repeating a gambler who has problems with the game and has to stop doing so.

One of them is to relate the game that he carries out day by day with possible problems that may have caused him.

A gambler can deny his addiction to exhaustion so that he can continue to play without remorse of conscience, but it will be more difficult to avoid awareness of the problems that arise from his own game.

This task can be relatively simple since pathological gambling usually causes a large number of problems.

Expropriation of money, economic problems, couple conflicts, family problems, decreases in friendships, problems with sleep, alcohol consumption, labor conflicts, decreased performance, loss of health …

These are just a few examples of problems that gambling has most likely caused in a gambler.

Commenting on these problems he has been suffering and relating them to the hours he has allocated to the game is the most effective method for the gambler  to become aware that his relationship with the game may be hurting him.

  1. Tell about pathological gambling

Once the gambler is able to relate his relationship to the game with the problems that have been presented, you can start to report on gambling.

At this point, the gambler will be starting to analyze your relationship with the game, so it probably is not as closed to the information that you can provide about your situation.

However, information must be given with some caution, without falling into determinism or cataloging.

In the same way that we said at the beginning, it is no use telling a ludopath who has pathological gambling, since he must discover it himself so that he is aware of it and can begin to perform actions to change.

Therefore, it is important to explain what is pathological gambling and what is the relationship between pathological gambling and addiction, so that it can be  identified and begin to become aware that perhaps he is suffering from this psychological alteration.

  1. Change the focus of attention

Although a gambler may be aware that he has a problem with gambling, his own addiction may lead him to deny it and interpret his problems in a different way.

In this way, you can be aware of your problems and your complicated relationship with the game, but do not give the player full responsibility for their difficulties.

“Yes, I spent enough money on the game for the other day I won 300 euros, so my financial problems do not cause them just the game.”

“Yes, when I come home late after having been playing I argue with my wife, but it has always been like that, it has a very strong character and always reproaches me  for anything.”

These two sentences can be rationalizations that a ludópata does on its situation.

As we see, in both there is a minimal acceptance that their relationship with the game can cause problems, but in no one is identified a clear addiction to the game.

Given these situations, what we can do is to change the focus of attention, in which the goal is not to abandon the game itself.

If we set goals that are relevant to the gambler, it will be easier for him to increase his motivation than if the goal itself is simply to abandon the behavior he most likes to do.

In this way, you can say, “Until now you have tried to improve your economy while spending money with the game and has not worked, we will change the strategy by not playing to see if we have better results.”

Also Read: Addiction to shopping: symptoms, causes and treatments

Using problem solving important to the gambler as an incentive to quit playing can be an effective strategy for convincing himself to overcome his addiction.

  1. Proportionate Alternatives

When the gambler is convinced that he wants to stop playing to improve various aspects of his life, it is important to provide alternatives.

People who are addicted to the game often invest many hours to play, so if you want to stop doing so you should find other activities to occupy that time.

Looking for activities that are incompatible with the game such as exercising, reading, staying with friends or going for walks are usually very suitable for the  gambler to avoid playing in the hours he used to play.

  1. Drive for Change

It is very important to motivate the gambler to stop playing.

As we have said, overcoming an addiction is a very complicated task and the basis of success is based on the motivation to achieve the goals.

In this way, remembering the things you are gaining by putting aside the game, the improvement in your quality of life and all the benefits of overcoming an addiction will be pure gasoline so that the gambler can continue to resist the game.

Likewise, it will be important to highlight all your achievements as small, to give them courage and to encourage them to continue striving to overcome their addiction.

  1. Help you avoid dangerous situations

Although a person is very convinced and motivated to leave the game, there may be certain situations in which it is extremely difficult to avoid the game.

Being close to places with slot machines, bingo halls, casinos or times when you can consume alcohol will constitute dangerous situations that can incite a relapse.

In this way, you can help him make a list of “dangerous situations” and create an agenda that allows them to be completely avoided.

  1. Encourage healthy recreational activities

Gum disease is usually linked to an unhealthy lifestyle, alcohol consumption, few hours for care and disorganized life.

Thus, if the gambler manages to start a lifestyle with healthy activities such as exercise, look after his image or play sports , the  game will have more complicated to access his day to day.

Also, promoting an organized life, with well-established schedules, good rest at night, good family environment and healthy eating are other important aspects to avoid relapses.

  1. Provide support

Finally, it is important that during the change process you can provide the support you need.

Overcoming an addiction is a complicated task so most likely, the loodopath live moments of stress and anguish that needs someone to lean on.

Give her your help, do not be too hard, try to empathize with her suffering and reach out to help her walk towards change.

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