Problems with gambling can begin at any age, but those who experience with gambling at an early age are more susceptible to developing an addiction later in life. For people with a gambling problem since their teens, the help of a professional is necessary for successful gambling addiction recovery.
People who have started gambling between grades 7 and 12 are more likely to mature into pathological gamblers than those who only began later in life. This may be because teens are more likely to develop addictive behaviors than adults. If you are aware of a family member that has started gambling in their teens and continues to do so now, this may be a warning sign that this individual is on his or her way to a serious gambling problem.
What Makes Teens Attracted to Gambling?
If a loved one has started gambling in his or her early years, chances are the habit has been ingrained into his or her psyche. This may lead to problems in reversing the compulsion to gamble as your loved one grows older. There are many reasons why someone in their teens would indulge in gambling, including:
- Glamorized portrayal of gambling in media: TV commercials, print ads, movies, and other avenues for media and advertising often show gambling as an exciting activity. Teens who are exposed to such a message are less likely to filter out this perception of gambling than adults.
- Lack of education or preventive programs for gambling: Unlike in the case of substance abuse, there are few to no programs that try to stop teens from gambling.
- Society, in general, being more accepting of gambling than drugs and alcohol: People around them, including their parents, may think that gambling is a harmless activity. They may even sometimes condone it as they are not worried about the possible outcomes.
- Teens’ preference for low-effort/high-stimulation activities: At this stage in their lives, teens’ have a greater tendency to favor high-stimulation activities that require little to no effort. Finding an online poker game or betting on the outcome of sporting events are simple ways to get a thrill. These habits may slowly develop into a more serious compulsion down the road.
If your spouse or an older relative living with you has a gambling addiction, it’s also possible that he or she can influence younger family members to start gambling. To prevent this, it’s crucial that you help your loved one seek gambling addiction recovery as soon as possible. Take a look at our modalities for more information about the programs we offer to help our clients recover from their gambling problem.