Gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers cannot control their impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. The financial strain associated with gambling losses may cause a downward spiral of arguments and stress, which in turn may drive your partner to want to gamble more. You may be experiencing communication beginning to break down between you and your partner, and therefore feel at a loss to know how to help them.
When occasional, and in moderation, gambling can be a positive social experience to enjoy with family or friends. Therefore, if your partner enjoys gambling, you may struggle to know if and when the gambling behavior has become a problem. However, a compulsive gambler uses gambling as a release and way to unwind after a stressful day, an argument, or a challenging situation.
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as the “hidden illness” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like there are in drug or alcohol addiction. Problem gamblers typically deny or minimise the problem, as well as going to excessive lengths to hide their gambling. Therefore, you may suspect, but feel unsure about whether your partner has become addicted to gambling. A few signs of problem gambling can include:
Alternatively, your partner may already be seeking treatment for a gambling addiction. If your partner is experiencing a relapse, you may feel extremely hurt and angry that they are continuing to gamble, even though they have sworn to stop. In attempting to support your partner, remaining calm and non-confrontational can be exhausting. Due to the stress and emotional strain of attempting to support your partner, you may feel you are no longer able to cope on your own. If this is the case for you, it is important to seek help from one of our psychologists.
The practitioners at VCPS can help you in various ways: