Gambling Disorder: Family Impact
Learn what Gam-Anon can do for you.
Gam-Anon is a 12 Step self-help fellowship of men and women who have been affected by the gambling problem of another. With the help of Gam-Anon, you find your way back to a normal way of thinking and living, whether or not loved ones continue to gamble.
The Purposes of GAM-ANON
- To welcome and give assistance and comfort to those affected by someone else's gambling problem.
- To communicate Gam-Anon's understanding of compulsive gambling and its impact on our lives.
- To share our experience, strength, and hope in coping with the gambling problem.
- To use the Steps and Tools of the Gam-Anon program which nurture our spiritual and emotional growth and recovery.
Self-Care for the Family
Gam-Anon, a 12 Step self-help fellowship of men and women affected by the gambling problem of another, are familiar with worry and sleepless nights, as well as broken promises made by loved ones. This is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and it may be the time to reflect on what is happening with a loved one. Learning about the signs and symptoms as well as strategies for self-care is vital to managing your journey. Take a look at the following questions and begin a journey to less stress and better health.
- Are you concerned about how the gambling of a loved one is affecting your life?
- Is the gambling of someone dear to you creating anxiety and worry?
- Are you having financial problems due to the gambling of a loved one or family member?
- Are you in financial turmoil or emotional distress and not sure why? Could gambling be the reason?
- Are you worried about the emotional health and/or financial security of a loved one who is gambling?
Protect Your Family's Finances
The holidays are approaching. Financial issues are often part of the holiday, creating stress and unhealthy family situations. Psychology Today shares some information to help. Being aware that gambling addiction is an often overlooked and a less commonplace addiction, it can ruin a relationship and break apart a family like many addictive behaviors. Here is some important information to process as the family considers the situation and if gambling is a family issue. Consider:
- Gambling addiction can destroy a family. The addict will consume any and all resources, from retirement to children's 529 accounts.
- Protect yourself from the fallout by reviewing account statements and tax returns, and documenting the problem.
- Options for further protection include post-nuptial agreement and divorce.
Lisa Zeiderman Esq., Psychology Today, states the following: “Not only can a gambling addiction break the trust and bond of a couple, but it can destroy the family's finances. A study reported by the North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help suggested more than 10 million people in the U.S. have a gambling problem.”
For more information go to: When Your Partner Has a Gambling Addiction | Psychology Today.
The Family Impact
As we see more people come forward with a compulsive gambling issue, we know gambling doesn’t just affect the gambler. The extensive consequences involve the lives of spouses, children, friends, extended family, employers and co-workers. However, the hardest hit is the immediate family. Persons with a gambling disorder often feel their issue affects only them and their life, making it seem okay since they believe there are no gambling effects on the family. Families suffer with more than the material issues. The rates of divorce, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect are much higher in families where one or both adults have a gambling disorder.
The chaos created by the family gambling disorder generates the possibility for emotional, psychological, social, financial, and possibly legal issues that challenge a family or partner. Often, families are unsure how to help and tend to go into protective approach immediately. However, in the attempt to protect, sometimes it does more harm than good for all. To learn more about the impact of gambling on families and strategies for a family recovery, visit: Gambling's impact on families - Focus on the Family and 4 Negative Gambling Effects on Family & How to Deal With It (marriage.com)