How to Limit the Risks of Gambling Among Teenagers
The annual amount of money wagered on gambling activities is estimated to reach $10 trillion annually, with the amount of illegal gambling exceeding that figure. Across the world, lotteries are the most common forms of gambling, with state-operated and licensed lotteries increasing in popularity in the late twentieth century. Organized football pools are found in nearly every European country, as well as a handful of South American, Asian, and African countries. State-licensed betting on other sporting events is also common in most countries.
Even young children can engage in gambling activities, though it is a bad idea for most adolescents. While gambling may seem safe at a younger age, it increases the risk of developing serious gambling problems in adulthood. Moreover, it can result in the loss of friendships with peers who don’t engage in the activity. Luckily, there are ways to limit the harmful effects of gambling on children. Here are some tips to help reduce the risks of gambling among teens:
Among teenagers, it is often difficult to recognize if a child is engaging in gambling. While gambling is not usually the cause of financial hardship, it may be a sign of a wider problem. Often, the problem goes undetected by the teenager, who often denies any problem. A few warning signs of a gambling problem are changes in school marks, social activities, and mood. If the signs persist, it’s time to seek professional help. Although the legal gambling age is 18 years, some children begin to gamble as early as 10 years old. The majority of adolescents engage in gambling by the time they are fifteen years old.
Lastly, gambling addiction can be treated by eliminating the triggers that encourage it. Most states have special programs to combat the negative effects of gambling. Some states even have gambling helplines. Gambling-related addictions are often treated by counseling, therapy, and physical activity. In addition, there are many state-approved gambling venues that offer help to people struggling with gambling problems. You can also call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Although admitting that you have a gambling addiction is often hard, the best way to overcome it is to get help. Reach out to family and friends and create a new network of friends outside of gambling. Enroll in education classes, volunteer for a worthwhile cause, or join a peer support group. You can also join a program like Gamblers Anonymous to help you overcome your addiction to gambling. The Gamblers Anonymous program has 12-step recovery steps and requires a sponsor who is a former gambler who can provide you with guidance and support.
Getting help for problem gambling can be an essential part of your recovery process. Counseling helps you understand why you engage in gambling, and how to overcome it. It’s free and confidential and available around the clock. No matter how hard your desire to quit, you don’t need to suffer in silence. There are people who can help. There are many ways to overcome a gambling addiction, so don’t wait any longer. It’s never too late to seek help.