Young Adults and Problem Gambling
People between the ages of 18-24 are at a high risk of developing gambling problems. The brain is still developing, and emotion and logic aren’t fully formed. In addition, decision-making ability hasn’t yet matured, making young adults more likely to take risks or act impulsively.
Early warning signs of a gambling problem:
- Skipping classes or work to gamble
- Spending less time with Friends or avoiding family events to gamble
- Lying about how much time and money is spent gambling
- Poor nutrition, health and sleep
- Borrowing and/or stealing money to gamble
- Increased drinking and/or drug use
- Thinking about gambling frequently
Adults and Problem Gambling
The Maryland Baseline Survey conducted in 2010 before the first casinos were opened in Maryland indicated 3.4% of adults in Maryland fit the criteria to be identified as problem gamblers, or 150,000 adults. The number in itself is not static so we are looking at a snapshot from 2010. The 150,000 adults represent a significant group of Marylanders. Imagine the M&T Ravens Football stadium filling to capacity, not once, but twice.
Who can become a problem gambler?
A problem gambler can be any age, gender, ethnicity, religion or socio-economic status. There are risk factors that can increase a person’s susceptibility to developing a gambling problem, such as a family history of problem gambling, a big win early in one’s gambling experience, loneliness, boredom, peer pressure, a history of substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Gambling becomes a problem when the person’s life is negatively impacted, causing conflicts in relationships with family members, friends or co-workers. Often people may not realize they have a gambling problem. Once aware of the gambling problem, a person’s feelings of shame, embarrassment or hopelessness may prevent them from seeking help. Finally, they may not know help is available or how to find it.