Gambling is any game or activity where a person risks money or something of value in an effort to win something. It can include lotteries, scratch cards, bingo, dice and card games, casinos and some internet wagering.
Problem gambling occurs when a person gambles money or other things of value to the extent that it interferes with their everyday life and causes problems in their relationships with family, friends and work. It also affects their mental health.
Adolescents are at risk for developing gambling problems because they are still in the formative years of their lives. They are forming relationships with others, making decisions about their own behavior and learning social norms.
In addition to affecting their relationships, adolescent problem gamblers may also experience negative consequences at home and school. Those problems can include loss of money, belongings or jobs.
Teenagers engage in a range of regulated and unregulated gambling activities, including lottery, dice, sports betting, and cards among others. Regulation of gambling varies from state to state and country to country.
Gambling problems can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on a person’s beliefs and attitudes about gambling, and how those beliefs affect their behavior. CBT also focuses on how to recognize a problem and stop gambling.
Gambling addiction can lead to serious consequences, including financial difficulties, legal problems, depression and other mental health problems. If you feel that you have a problem with gambling, talk to your doctor or counselor. Many states offer gambling helplines and other assistance.