Problem gambling is the act of losing control of one’s urges to gamble. Whether an individual gambles on a regular basis or infrequently, the consequences are the same. If a person cannot control their urges and gambling begins to affect other areas of their life, it is a sign of a gambling problem. Professional help is available for individuals suffering from compulsive gambling. These counselling services are confidential and are available at any time.
The nascent literature suggests that the problem gambling rate is higher among college-aged adults, possibly because of broader developmental issues. The British Gambling Prevalence Study (BGPS) reported higher rates of problem gambling in 16-24-year-old men compared with those aged 65-74 years. In contrast, the prevalence of problem gambling in women was only 0.2% among those aged 65-74 years old. Although the UK study was not the first to link gambling problem to mental health problems, it has suggested that the younger population is at a higher risk of gambling disorders.
While adolescent gambling does not lead to home or family loss, it can have a significant impact on the person’s life and relationships. While gambling can be harmful at any age, it is especially problematic when it disrupts relationships, school work, or social life. The consequences of adolescent problem gambling can range from social to financial, from destroying relationships to affecting employment. However, problem gambling often begins in the adolescent stage, so early intervention is crucial.