Watching a family member or friend gamble at risky levels can be upsetting, frustrating and exhausting. Understanding why they gamble can help you work out what’s going on in their head and how you can support them and communicate with them better.

Keep in mind that you are not responsible for fixing them. Seeking support from someone qualified to help people with gambling habits can help a person you care about change their gambling.

Often overwhelming feelings and emotions drive their gambling behaviour.

They may be feeling shame, guilt and remorse to be gambling at a risky level which can snowball into more feelings of guilt from seeing the impact of their gambling on others.

Being in the middle of all these feelings can be overwhelming and interrupt their logical thinking so they might look for comfort, distraction and the chance to recoup losses by more gambling.

They may not resemble the person you know and love and that can be scary and confronting for both of you.

You may feel a range of emotions too.

It is completely normal for people in this situation to feel angry and hurt by their actions.

At this stage, the best thing you can do for them is to reach out for support from the many services available. Talking to someone outside your situation who is qualified and experienced can help you cope with your own feelings and can also help you to help them.

Speak to a counsellor to get a better understanding or for more information.