You’ve known for some time now that something is wrong, but you just can’t seem to find the courage to confront your spouse on the issue. What you do know is that he or she has been distant lately, but is that a sign of a larger issue? Is it possible that your spouse has a gambling problem?
What is Problem Gambling?
In order to look at what may be going on with your spouse, it’s necessary to define what problem gambling is. The term is meant to describe an individual whose gambling causes emotional, financial, psychological, marital, legal, or other difficulties for themselves and others. Problem gambling can also be a sign that there are other issues at play, such as drug or alcohol abuse and/or addictive sex.
Types of Problem Gamblers
There are two common types of problem gamblers:
- Action gamblers may have begun gambling when they were teenagers and they prefer skill games. They typically gravitate toward sports betting, poker, craps, dog racing, and horse racing. They tend to believe they are smarter than the system, and that they can consistently beat the odds and win.
- Escape gamblers, on the other hand, generally drift into gambling a bit later in life as a way of escaping their problems. Escape gamblers prefer a form of gambling that induces a hypnotic state of mind, such as bingo, video poker, or slots.
You may have some idea of whether or not your spouse falls into one of these categories of problem gambler. If you’re not sure, keeping a log of your spouse’s gambling habits could help you find some clarity.
Something Else to Consider
There is some research that suggests that people who grew up in families where gambling was prevalent tend to be more likely to gamble themselves. If the gambler in the family considered gambling as a way to solve problems, financial or otherwise, this attitude may be passed on to the children. In addition, people with a history of depression, hyperactivity, and mood swings may be more likely to gamble. Research also indicates that children raised in families where a parent is absent or a workaholic, abusive, or prone to using their money to show either love or anger, may be more likely to develop into problem gamblers.
If you believe your spouse has a gambling problem, help is available. For a complete list of available resources, please visit our Get Help page.