Teen gambling addiction: truth or myth?

Not only adults, but even young children are at risk for gambling addiction. Scratch cards, apps and betting sites: it’s getting easier and easier to gamble and teens and young adults are increasingly at risk of falling into the trap of easy betting. Gambling addiction derives from a complex interaction between biological, psychological and environmental factors that varies from person to person. From a biological point of view, in gamblers the brain circuits that guide their behavior undergo a sort of “deception”, starting to respond as if the action of gambling was necessary for survival.

There is a myth that teens are not likely to develop problems with gambling. Recent studies done in Quebec (Canada) show that about 2% of high school students are addicted to gambling, while about 1% of adults manifest gambling problems. A survey conducted last year in several European countries shows that 33% of 12- to 17-year-olds play free gambling games online. Such games are convenient and easily accessible and can be accessed from home, often without parental supervision. Their novelty, high level of stimulation, and their low level of physical exertion are also appealing to young people, many of whom are technically skilled.

The responsible indian casino prohibits teenagers or persons under the legal age to use its service. Those who have not yet turned 18 years of age and therefore are not yet of the legal age, must not play any game with cash prizes.  Underage customers are not part of our marketing goals and strategies. Attracting underage customers is not in line with our personal and corporate values.

The psychological trait that most predisposes to the development of addiction is the poor capacity for self-control (a distinctive characteristic of adolescence), while the main environmental risk factors are represented by the socio-economic context in which young people live, exposure to stressful events and familiarity with addiction and other psychiatric pathologies.

How to recognize a gambling addiction

The family is essential to catch all the signs that indicate a possible addiction. Among these:

  • the continuous interest in gambling;
  • the reduced ability to control the time dedicated to this occupation;
  • the lack of interest in studying and other recreational activities;
  • the decline in school performance;
  • frequent unexcused absences;
  • anxiety;
  • irritability;
  • unmotivated aggressive attitudes;
  • sleep disorders;
  • and the onset of behaviors hitherto considered unusual such as lying repeatedly or stealing in the house!

To deal with this problem, parents and teachers must inform and sensitize children about the phenomenon, helping them to understand the dangers, even very serious ones, of addiction, but without using prohibitionist and judgmental tones. It will then be necessary to monitor the behavior of young people most at risk and, in the most critical situations, initiate specific therapeutic interventions (such as, for example, individual psychotherapy).

Getting out of the situation through therapy and prevention of game addiction in your adolescent children

It is possible to get out of it, but there must also be motivation on the part of the adolescent.

Treatment is based on individual, family or group psychotherapy meetings. The primary objective is to create an alliance with young patients to reinforce motivation and adherence to treatment and to make them more aware of the problem. In addition to protect themselves from the risks of gambling there are some indications of behavior to follow, such as: avoid places (betting halls) or situations of risk (hang out with friends dedicated to the game and imitate the attitude).

In the therapeutic path there can also be prescribed drugs that act on the compulsion (such as antidepressants of new generation) or that stabilize the mood. The most serious cases, on the other hand, will be referred to the so-called SERD, the social and health services dedicated to the treatment of addictions.

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