Gambling addition not only affects the person with the addiction, but can also have major consequences on family members or others who are close to the gambler. The addiction can have serious consequences on a couple’s shared finances, and it can be a major burden to worry about the gambler and perhaps also feel helpless when it comes to the power that the gambling seemingly has over the family member. It is often shocking when the full extent of the gambling problems is revealed, and many feel a major sense of betrayal as the gambler has lied about or hidden their gambling problems.
Family members or partners can play a key role in motivating the gambler to seek help and support the gambler in quitting gambling. At the same time, however, the family members/partner must also take care of themselves and make sure their own finances and health are not also affected by the gambling.
As a family member or partner of someone with a gambling addiction, you have the right to specialist treatment. You must first obtain a referral from your general practitioner or NAV.
It can often be helpful to talk to someone who is in the same situation as you. Spillavhengighet Norge is an organisation for gambling addicts and their family/partners and organises regular network meetings across Norway for family members/partners. Spillavhengighet Norge also has a helpline where you can talk to someone going through the same experience.
Their helpline is a service aimed at the gambling addict as well as their family or partner. Family members/partners can also make an anonymous call to 800 800 40 for advice or visit websites with information specifically aimed at them.
Spillkontroll.no has a useful online self-help course for family members and partners of gambling addicts. Among other things, the course teaches them how to talk to the gambler about their gambling problems, how they can help and support him or her and how they can also take care of themselves.
The gambler must personally contact their general practitioner and other support services to get help with their gambling problems. However, the family and partners of gamblers may also require help to cope with the difficulties they face. There are several places in Norway where specialist health services provide services for family members and partners of gambling addicts. Learn more about how to get treatment here.