How to Help a Friend or Family Member

How Can I Tell If My Family Member or Friend Has a Problem?

It is sometimes difficult to tell. At the same time, not knowing is stressful. Here are a few suggestions for moving forward.

  1. It may be time for a conversation where you can express your concerns and worries.

    There are two critical keys to the conversation.

    1. Try not to confront and be angry. Instead, try for both of you to be calm and relaxed in a place that is comfortable and private. For some, this is hard to do. What you might have seen or read about an “Intervention” is wrong. The conversation should be one-on-one and focused on your caring for the other person and not getting them to be defensive. Perhaps practice with another person first and prepare to lean into your love and concern for the other person.
    2. The secret to a successful, difficult conversation is to listen: express concern, ask your question, and listen.
  2. Consider the following three questions.

    If the answer is yes to any, then there might be benefits to expressing your concern more directly.

    1. During the last 12 months, has this person seemed to become restless or irritable when they take a break from gambling?
    2. During the past year, have you been aware of this person hiding their gambling activities or how much money they gambled?
    3. During the past year, have financial problems or worries grown that seem related to gambling? Perhaps the problems have resulted in the need to borrow or find new ways to get money.
  3. Take a problem gambling screening for your family member or friend.

    Try to take your guess, although you may feel like you don’t know for sure. Once completed, you will receive immediate feedback.
    Let’s use the following screener for significant others.