When someone in your life is being harmed by gambling, it can damage your health and wellbeing.
You might be stressed about your finances and feeling frustration, resentment and exhaustion from trying to help the person gambling. Your family might not be functioning in a healthy way and members might be using violence.
You may also be relying on unhealthy habits for stress relief like over or undereating, alcohol, smoking and drug use.
This combination of factors be a disaster for people’s mental and physical health, causing or worsening conditions including: headaches and migraines, back pain, high blood pressure and heart palpitations, asthma, anxiety and depression.
Staying healthy and managing stress
It’s so important during this time to look after your own mental and physical health. Your health and wellbeing is just as important as the person you’re caring for.
Look after your health by:
- practising mindfulness and exercising regularly
- getting enough sleep
- avoiding alcohol and drugs — they might make you feel better for a while, but they can make things worse
- catching up with friends and doing things you enjoy — exercising, going to the movies, watching sport
- keeping up with medical appointments and seeing your doctor for a check-up. If you are experiencing a mental health condition like anxiety or depression, your doctor might be able to help you access free mental health treatment.
Broken relationships, along with financial stress and lack of trust, are the three biggest impacts of gambling harm on families.
Gambling disrupts relationships and the everyday functioning of families. For the families of people who gamble at risky levels, it can feel like you don’t matter to them — all they care about is gambling. There may also be also resentment and anger at the financial hardship caused by their gambling. All of these feelings are completely normal.
It takes time to repair relationships and restore lost trust.
You can start by:
- looking for the positives about them
- asking them to be honest about their gambling urges and trying not to get upset when they are
- talking openly about how you have been hurt and your concerns for the future
- seeing a counsellor together.
A counsellor can help you communicate clearly and honestly with each other in an environment that is safe for everyone.
Call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 for free, confidential counselling.