Talk about your own experience of how the other person's game is affecting you. Ask the person for their perspective. Give them time to tell their story. Try to listen without discussing or correcting your experience; this may close the conversation.
The first thing to do if you think your partner is a problem gambler is to seek help. Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker or slots in a casino, on the track or online, a problem with gambling can test your relationships, interfere with work and cause financial disaster. Try not to judge, as this may push away your family member or friend and invite him to defend your game. Tell them what you have noticed about the game and how you think it affects your family member or friend.
Gambling addiction is sometimes referred to as a “hidden disease” because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms such as those found in drug or alcohol addiction. If you think you're going to start playing again, contact your mental health professional or sponsor right away to avoid a relapse. But dealing with a gambling problem can help you regain a sense of control and perhaps help heal damaged relationships or finances. Although it may be obvious to those around them, the person may not see their game as a problem until they experience a crisis that they cannot resolve on their own.
Compulsive gambling is a progressive disease, so even if you've played before and you've been good, a problem could arise later. But continuing to recover from gambling addiction or problem gambling is still possible if you surround yourself with people to whom you are responsible, avoid tempting environments and websites, giving up control of your finances (at least at first), and finding healthier activities to replace gambling in your life. You may have spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep your loved one from playing or having to cover for them. Often, a person with a gambling addiction also suffers from bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, so medication or therapy to treat those conditions can alleviate gambling addiction.
Gambling compulsion may begin the first time someone places a bet, or it may gradually progress to an addiction over time. Having a sponsor or designated person to help you resist the urge to play again can be particularly helpful. Overcoming a problem with gambling is never easy and seeking professional treatment doesn't mean you're weak in any way or that you can't handle your problems. Some people with gambling problems will be relieved and grateful that the topic has been addressed, as they want to talk about it.
Once you've opened up the conversation, there are plenty of practical ways to help someone with a gambling problem.