Those suffering from problem gambling are at risk for a host of problems, including financial, personal, professional, and overall health. However, gamblers are not the only ones at risk of the consequences of problem gambling. Family members also suffer in various ways. One, often not discussed due to the sensitivity of the topic, is through domestic violence that stems from the gambling addiction.
Problem gambling is chaotic for a family. It hurts emotionally and financially, and sometimes legally. It also puts a large burden on the other family members to pick up the slack in terms of normal household and familial duties. Resentment often builds as the hurt builds.
Research has been consistent in its conclusion on the correlation between problem gambling and domestic violence. The reason why is quite simple: the biggest rift in families usually stems from finances, and gambling puts a heavy burden on a family’s financial health. Gambling – whether problematic or not – often causes couples to argue over money.
These financial disputes have the possibility to escalate to abuse, which can include physical, emotional, sexual, or otherwise abusive behavior. Unfortunately, these forms of intimate partner violence are hidden in the walls of many homes across New York State. However, for partners of problem gamblers, that risk increases tremendously, similarly to that of those who abuse alcohol or other substances. Some studies show that over 60% of families that deal with problem gambling also deal with domestic violence.
In addition to the strain on the relationship leading to intimate partner violence, those suffering with problem gambling are often prone to an inability to control impulses, have low tolerance threshold, and are susceptible to withdrawing from close personal relationships, including the individual’s spouse and children. This behavior also increases the risk of intimate partner violence.
At the New York Counsel on Problem Gambling, we are here to help those who suffer with problem gambling and their families. Access to help is just a phone call away. Recovery from gambling can lead to recovery from the problems that stem from the underlying conditions resulting from gambling problems. However, if you feel unsafe and fall victim to acts of domestic violence, please reach out to the authorities.