Gambling addictions need to be treated with the same respect, diligence and concern as all other addictions. Even though it is not a consumption addition, there is a neurological reaction that stimulates the brain with a constant need to act.
Sometimes, an overpowering desire to do something will release chemicals from the brain when the desire is practiced. These chemicals keep the desire active and don’t desist just because the action isn’t being performed.
So in essence, the person is left with an overwhelming obsession to do this thing again whether their surroundings inspire them to do it or not. Their thoughts become consumed with strategies and tactics to improve the skills of their actions.
People don’t always recognize that their concentration on their desire is an addiction – such as gambling. Usually, it takes a tragic consequence before they become aware of their obsession, such as draining their savings account or selling their home possessions or a marriage break-up.
Often people criticizing them about it will only drive them deeper into their addiction. So, what do you do?
The first thing is to make the person realize and understand that they have an addiction. This could take time and a lot of tact to get them to truly see what is happening to them.
You can take two approaches to break the addiction habit: one is to go cold turkey and flee far from it until the desire has left the immediate foreground of their mind; and the second is to seek professional counselling, which would be the better choice.
As with any other addiction, though, it doesn’t stop just because the convenience isn’t there. The desire is there and it will harass them forever to get back into the act. So, you need to set up a preventative security system for them.
Firstly, they’ll have to be blocked out from any and all bank accounts so that they can’t drain any more of the family funds.
Secondly, they should never be given money to pay bills or buy groceries. They would need to lose all their financial responsibilities in the home.
Thirdly, they would need to agree to stay away from gambling casinos, bars and homes where they could get lured in again. This could even mean a change of friends.
Fourthly, some addicts can take control over their actions and are conducive to having only specific times and money to play with. Since the internet offers such easy access to various forms of gambling, the addict could be allotted a small specified amount from his or her own income to spend however they want. If they choose to spend it gambling, then they’ll have that few minutes of fun every week to appease their desire, but there would be no other funds made available to them.
However, only some addicts will be able to train themselves to accept this limited time and money and still be satisfied. For others, this may be just a tease that makes them break away and fall back into it. You would need to use discretion and wisdom to implement this idea.
Because this desire is an ongoing action inside them, they could fill the void by taking up an active sport and using their energy and strategies on that. This often works and helps not only fill the time, but it gives them a satisfaction in overcoming and winning at something.
You have to remember that an addiction could happen to anyone. It’s a powerful controlling of the mind wanting something over the heart knowing they shouldn’t do it.
You should still treat the person with the same compassion and respect as before the addiction. The only difference should be the restriction in circumstances that could encourage or ignite the addiction.
The focus should be on their other characteristics that can make them excel as valuable members of their family and in society.