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Tennessee Gambling Addiction Hotline: How to Help a Loved One
Gambling can be a fun hobby or form of entertainment for many folks. But for some, it crosses the line into addiction. Compulsive gambling is a real disorder that can wreck finances, relationships, and lives. If someone you care about is struggling with a gambling problem, it’s understandable to feel worried or upset. Just know that help and hope are out there. This article has info on gambling addiction, tips for supporting your loved one, and how Tennessee’s gambling hotline can help those working to overcome this challenge.
Understanding Gambling Addiction
Most people gamble or play the lottery for fun every now and then. But for around 1-3% of adults, gambling stops being about entertainment and turns into an unhealthy compulsion. The medical term is “gambling disorder,” and it’s recognized as a legitimate addiction.Like any addiction, the urge to gamble releases feel-good brain chemicals. Over time, it takes more betting to get the same rush. People become dependent on gambling to relieve stress or escape problems. They start taking dangerous risks, lying about their habits, and isolating themselves from loved ones. Financial issues, legal trouble, and relationship conflict often follow.Gambling addiction has real impacts on mental and physical health too. Many compulsive gamblers deal with anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, digestive issues and more. The inability to control impulses despite all the harm can make people feel ashamed and hopeless.Just like with drug or alcohol addiction, overcoming a gambling problem takes courage, effort, support, and often professional help. With understanding and access to treatment resources, recovery is possible.
Spotting a Potential Gambling Problem
Wondering if someone you know might be dealing with gambling addiction? Here are some common signs:
- Spending way more time and money gambling than they can afford
- Lying about where they’ve been and how much they’ve gambled
- Relying on others for bailouts to cover debts and bills
- Failed attempts to cut back on gambling without success
- Restlessness, irritability, anxiety when trying to stop
- Bragging about wins but hiding losses
- Gambling despite ongoing financial, legal or relationship issues it causes
Of course, just enjoying placing the occasional bet doesn’t mean someone has a problem. But if gambling seems out of control and you’ve noticed multiple red flags, it may be time to step in.
Why Getting Help Matters
Overcoming addiction is tough work that requires professional support and accountability. Like diabetes or depression, gambling disorder is a medical condition that can be managed with treatment and lifestyle changes. But it rarely gets better on its own.Letting an addiction go unchecked can allow problems to spiral. Compulsive gamblers may blow through savings, college funds, retirement accounts or equity in their home. Some resort to theft or fraud to finance their habit. Many grapple with thoughts of suicide due to overwhelming shame and despair.When it comes to gambling addiction, the stakes are high. Lives, careers, families and futures can be devastated. But you can help protect your loved one by speaking up and connecting them with resources.
Tips for Approaching a Loved One
Discovering a family member or friend has been lying to you is understandably upsetting. You may feel angry, hurt and betrayed. But try to come from a place of compassion. Addiction warps thinking and priorities in the brain. Your loved one is wrestling with a legitimate medical disorder – not intentionally trying to harm anyone.Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:DO:
- Speak up out of love and concern, not judgment
- Pick a relaxed time to talk when they’re sober
- Use “I” statements to share worries
- Listen openly and ask how you can help
- Present treatment options positively
- Set boundaries if trust needs rebuilding
- Lecture, blame or shame them
- Expect promises they can instantly stop
- Loan them any more money
- Enable lies or coverups
- Ultimatums rarely motivate change
- Demand they repay debts right now
The goal is to express your care and desire to support their health and wellbeing. With empathy and compassion, you’re more likely to motivate them towards help.
Exploring Treatment Options
If your loved one recognizes they need help to break free of gambling addiction, there are various treatment routes to consider:Talk Therapy & Support Groups: Counseling provides strategies for controlling gambling urges, building healthy coping skills, and addressing underlying issues that may contribute to addiction. Joining a support community helps reduce isolation and shame while bonding with others who understand the struggle.Medication: Anti-depressants or mood stabilizers may help with withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and mental health issues that often accompany gambling disorder.Financial Counseling: Since money issues usually accompany gambling addiction, meeting with a financial therapist or adviser can help organize finances, budget for recovery costs, and rebuild stability. Debt consolidation or bankruptcy may be necessary in some situations.Gambling Block Software: Using tech tools like Gamban to block access to betting sites and apps can add an extra layer of protection against relapsing during recovery.Inpatient Rehab: For those with severe cases of gambling addiction, spending 30-90 days in a residential facility dedicated to treating compulsive gambling may prove most effective. Being immersed in therapy and removed from temptation sets the stage for lasting change.Seeking input from a doctor, therapist or other addiction experts can help determine the best path forward. The key is finding a personalized plan that fits your loved one’s needs and situation.
Tennessee’s Gambling Addiction Hotline
If someone you care about is battling gambling addiction in Tennessee, the state offers a dedicated hotline for information, advice and referrals: 1-800-889-9789This free, confidential helpline is run by the Tennessee REDLINE program. Counselors provide compassionate support 24/7 and connect callers with local treatment providers and resources.Whether your loved one is ready to take the first step towards change or just looking to learn more, the gambling addiction hotline is a judgment-free place to turn. Counselors know recovery is a journey with ups and downs. They can offer guidance for each phase – from accepting there’s a problem to maintaining sobriety long-term.
Finding Hope in the Struggle
Overcoming any addiction is incredibly hard work. There will likely be setbacks and moments of despair for your loved one along the way. That’s why providing patience and emotional support is so vital. Celebrate small wins, offer reassurance after slip-ups, and just listen when they need to talk it out.With access to the right help and a strong support network, healing is possible. Thousands find freedom from gambling addiction every year. By learning about treatment options and lending encouragement, you can make all the difference in empowering your family member or friend to reclaim their health, finances and dreams.If you think someone you love may be struggling with compulsive gambling, avoid judgment and instead offer compassion. Help is available 24/7 by calling Tennessee’s gambling addiction hotline or chatting with a counselor online. Together, you can work towards a brighter future.
Gambling Disorder Facts and StatisticsDSM Criteria for Gambling DisorderThe Impact of Gambling DisorderCosts and Consequences of GamblingAbout Tennessee REDLINELong-Term Recovery from Gambling Addiction