There are many forms of gambling that young men can become involved in. You don’t have to be in your thirties, suited up on the race track or playing back room poker to a Kenny Rogers soundtrack to have a gambling addiction. In fact research shows that problem gambling begins in adolescence.
Unfortunately it can be a lot harder, and take a lot longer for young people to realise and admit to themselves that they have a gambling problem. Because many still live at home with the family and have a roof over their heads and food to eat, often there are fewer consequences from gambling.
Being completely broke until next payday, distancing yourself from friends because you can’t afford to go out, or because you already owe them money, can be a really miserable way to live.
I’ve seen a number of men who have come to counselling when in their late 20s, 30s and 40s who tell me their gambling problem started when they were in their teens. Their gambling problem had continued to escalate over those years, sometimes fuelled by peer pressure, denial of the problem, a stubborn insistence that they would win big (but of course they never did), until it got to the point where they found themselves risking more than they could ever imagine. They were now facing homelessness, marriage breakdown,
unemployment, bankruptcy, criminal charges, some were contemplating suicide.
The sad thing is that these are real stories. These are real people. And here is a word of advice; don’t let a small problem become a massive one. Seek help before it gets of hand. Gambling Help can help you break the cycle and put you back in control of your life. Phone 1800 858 858 or go to www.gamblinghangover.nsw.gov.au – remember it’s free,
what do you have to lose?