Psychiatric Woes with Below Age Limit Gambling

Major countries around the world have set up gambling age limits to check the spread of the vice among their youths. The common limit is either 18 or 21 years of age. But we have to consider studies on the effects of gambling on adolescents. These effects don't respect age limits—as long as a person has an adolescent maturity level this study applies.

Some medical experts say gambling addiction among youngsters is not just a social woe; it is a medical defect. It is a psychiatric problem, to be specific. They even go further as to say that biological and genetic factors may be involved. No less than the Yale University School of Medicine had this to say in a 2004 teenage gambling study:

The study shows that kids, teenagers in particular, addicted to gambling were more prone to depression and drug and liquor use or addiction than kids who never gambled. When gambling addiction goes hand in hand with substance abuse the study warned that the case may actually be linked to a "severe" case of psychiatric evil habits attacking an individual.

In New Zealand for instance, it was found that personality affected by problem gambling was comparable to a personality affected by substance dependence like liquor, nicotine, and even marijuana and drugs. The study was done by observing a thousand affected adolescents in 2005. Gamblers with ages below gambling age limits were found to be dependent on an addiction of some kind aside from gambling. They, too, were noted to have negative and risky tendencies emotionally.

Germans were not to be outdone in gambling studies. In the same year, 2005, they conducted a study on gamblers and non-gamblers. They found that the brain activity of gamblers as far as reward signaling was concerned was weaker compared to non-gamblers. Not surprisingly, the gamblers shared the same brain response activity with drug addicts. This means, compulsive gamblers cannot derive meaningful rewards with occasional gambling so they have to resort to addiction. Drug addicts have the same tendency.

With the decreased sense of reward derived from gambling came the decrease in the control of impulsive gambling, the German study noted. Hence, when young gambling addicts win they like to win more. Simple winning is never enough. Youthful indulgence for more is channeled to a wrong addictive impetus.

Fixing gambling age limits should be well substantiated with expertly study. Gambling should remain a venue for trying out luck, not wasting whole lives.