Gambling: Why is it addicting?

We live in a time where it is socially acceptable and promoted to gamble. Underage individuals are more exposed to gambling than ever before. This exposure will lead towards an addiction which can cause many problems for health and someones everyday life. 

The more exposure to gambling at such a young age will lead to increased long-term mental and physical effects. 

According to Oxford Academic, “Gambling during adolescence can lead to adverse outcomes such as strained relationships, delinquency and criminal behavior, depression and even suicide.”

Not only does this cause physical effects, but mental as well. Gambling can cause stress and problems at school and home, which can lead to a decrease in the adolescents’ mental health. Study’s show that people with present mental health disorders are more susceptible to developing a gambling addiction. 

 According to Algamus, a gambling treatment site, teens use gambling to cope with their symptoms of anxiety or depression. 

Gambling can be seen as a gateway drug. The adrenaline caused from gambling gets teens hooked and wanting more. Teens will find a way to give them the rush of adrenaline, which could spiral out of control. 

Stated by Algamus, “Engaging in the risky behavior is gambling can lead teens to want to try substances that will also give them a rush of adrenaline.”

So how do teens really get affected from gambling? Gambling affects the brain just as much as drugs do. Making a risky bet or move causes the same “high” you get from other adrenaline rushes. When gambling, the brain releases dopamine which gets people excited and craving more. 

According to Algamus, “Gambling actually affects the brain’s reward system in the same way drugs do. Gambling can have a serious impact on the teenage brain, causing problems with focus, impulse control and decision-making.”

There has been an ongoing question of why teenagers gamble. Teens use Gambling to fill an emotional void, for social activity, or just to find a simple thrill. Gambling can be a number of things like sports betting, poker, scratch off lottery tickets and more. Adrenaline, peer pressure and social acceptance are just some of the many reasons underage individuals will pick up gambling. 

According to Algamus, “They turn to gambling to gain an instant sense of satisfaction. They do not want to feel excluded or like the odd person out. It is an easy way to make money.”

Although it may be hard to identify an addiction, there are certain triggers that may cause changes in a person’s mood. Things like loneliness, environmental factors or traumatic experiences are some factors that may lead one to gamble. 

Confirmed by Medical News Today, “Gambling becomes a problem when it cannot be controlled and it interferes with relationships and the workplace. Some factors can lead to a change in behavior.”

Being well educated about the risks and factors of underage gambling will help prevent future addictions. Addictions will never fully go away, but with knowledge there are ways to help it from getting worse and hopefully lead to finding other ways to express certain emotions.