The Holidays Just Aren’t the Same with Problem Gambling in the Family
Most will be able to celebrate the end of 2020, a year full of challenges and changed plans. The pandemic has motivated, if not required, families to spend more time at home and enjoy the holidays differently. Everyone nonetheless hopes for the ideal holiday season: to have the time of rest, cheer, and most importantly, little to no family conflict. But undoubtedly, the holidays aren’t perfect for everyone.
Gambling addiction, although it seems invisible, can make its presence known during the holidays and heading into the New Year. Time off from work and higher-than-normal expenses during this time can pose a risk for those who struggle with this disorder or who are in their process of recovery, often to the point where it can no longer be hidden. Individuals who struggle with problem gambling can be seen experiencing far more than financial problems, including debt, job loss, legal problems, and even suicidal ideation and attempts. It’s not hard to imagine how these hardships bubbling to the surface can cause the holidays to shift from joy to trouble and a strain on relationships.
HelpLine data revealed that over the past year, relational and familial problems were confirmed as the primary reason for seeking help by 29% of contacts, 76% of all HelpLine contacts reported there was family conflict present, and 52% indicated family neglect as a result of problem gambling . Yet, the situation doesn’t have to get worse before it gets better. One of the most important keys in the decision to seek help for gambling addiction and to success in recovery is a strong support network. It is often those closest to the gambler who experience the most profound effects and who also can make the biggest difference.
The good news is that help and hope are available for gambling addiction, and treatment is possible. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848) to get connected with services and supports that pave the path to recovery. The HelpLine may also be reached by texting (321) 978-0555, emailing email@example.com, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report.