Many people know that gambling can become an addiction. Unfortunately, teenage gambling is becoming easier and easier. Young people can gamble on the Internet or on video games with their friends, or even set up poker games among their friends.
There are even teenagers as young as seventh grade who are addicted to gambling. Just as gambling addiction is on the rise, teenage gambling is increasing too.
People turn to substances or activities (such as gambling) because they bring them pleasure. They then associate those substances or activities with the feelings of euphoria they get from them, and they crave them.
Eventually, people become physically and psychologically dependent on them, and their cravings become an addiction. Because people get pleasure from a variety of things, there are many different kinds of addictions.
There are signs that may suggest your child has a problem with gambling. Some of these signs include:
- withdrawal from normal activities and relationships
- increased anxiety
- unexplained absences from home, school, or work
- suddenly poor grades
- poor sleep habits and hygiene
- frequent calls from strangers
- asking to borrow money
- unexplained debts or unexplained windfall cash
- or recent purchases with money from an unknown source.
There are ways people can help prevent gambling among teenagers. One of the most important forms of prevention is education.
By teaching teenagers about the dangers of excessive gambling, they will be less likely to become addicted. Many communities and schools have programs in place to help educate teenagers about gambling for this purpose.
How To Deal With It
There are things you can do to help your child if you discover he or she is involved in teenage gambling:
- Make sure your child doesn’t have access to your credit cards and cash to keep them from using your money to feed their addiction.
- You should also get your child in a counseling or rehabilitation program to break the cycle of gambling. There are programs, like Gamblers Anonymous, that help provide support to addicts to help them break the cycle. Teenagers need a strong support system, and if they’re addicted to gambling, that support system needs to be even stronger.
When dealing with teenagers who have a gambling problem, communication and education are key to helping. When you learn about gambling addictions and how they effect the lives of gamblers, you can be better equipped to help a teenager who’s struggling with gambling.
For many, teenage gambling is a real problem, and though it’s often misunderstood, it’s an addiction that needs the same care and support as alcoholism, drug abuse, or adult gambling addiction.
With knowledge and the appropriate support however, teenagers can begin to overcome their addictions and go back to being teenagers.