Teenage Gambling Epidemic Ahead


7.8% of Children have PTSD due to Bullying & Violence

A Study published in the Lancet today states that “Tens of thousands” of UK children now have PTSD due to bullying and violence.

  • 7.8% percent of people under the age of 18
  • 3 out of 10 children experience some kind of trauma during childhood
  • Half of young people with PTSD had self-harmed, while 1 in 5 had attempted suicide since the age of 12

Half of ALL children are worried about returning from school half-term and holidays because of bullying, according to a recent YouGov poll for the Diana Award.

As noted in the Lancet study, lifetime PTSD resulted in ADD behaviours, alcohol dependence, depression, conduct disorder, self harm, suicide attempts, violent offences, and functional impairment. Gambling was not specifically measured or asked about (it never is).


Why is this relevant for Problem Gamblers?

Those of you who have read my book The Unbelievable Truth about Gambling Addiction will already know about the undeniable link between Problem Gambling and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

ADD often results in Problem Gambling. But so too does PTSD, as:

Gambling isn't the primary problem - it's an attempt to solve a problem.

When addicts gamble, it is often an attempt to escape from current painful emotions and circumstances.

But it can also be a way of self-medicating past pain, buried deep in the subconcious. Temporary relief for a brain that sustained damage earlier in life. To our “thinking” brain that was long ago, but to our subconcious – which makes up some 90% of our entire brain – it can be very much a live “program” or pattern that is still running in the background, and influencing our concious actions.

People experiencing trauma in childhood often grow up to be Problem Gamblers or other addicts, with the full spectrum of ADD behaviours. I personally believe that at least 70% of the 1,000 or so problem gamblers I have met and helped recover during the last 25 years tick the ADD box. This figure is mirrored by Dr. Gabor Maté , the world’s leading authority on ADD, during his 10 years treating addicts in one particular Canadian clinic in Vancouver.

(See my book for a summary list of ADD traits, or read Dr. Maté’s book Scattered for the full definitive work on ADD).

Causes of PTSD

PTSD (Post Dramatic Stress Disorder) in mature adults can be caused by things like:

  • road accidents
  • violent assaults such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  • prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
  • witnessing violent deaths
  • military combat
  • being held hostage
  • terrorist attacks or other abnormal crowd disturbances
  • natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods

The person might relive the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks. They may also experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. Problems sleeping, insomnia, and concentration are often present.

PTSD in younger, developing minds can be caused by:

  • Bullying
  • Abuse (sexual, psychological)
  • Any one of the relevant Adult factors

And according to the new study, Child PTSD rates are rising rapidly.

Implications of Rising Child PTSD Rates for Gambling

Government needs to take note that, unless immediate action is taken, we are going to see:

  1. A tsunami of young problem gamblers and wasted futures. Remember one thing directly leads to another:  PTSD => Problem Gambling. PTSD also leads to ADD which leads to Gambling.
  2. A continued rise in the number of gambling-related suicides. The number of suicides may already be as high as 2 per day, every day, according to former Government Minister Tracey Crouch in her resignation letter to the Prime Minister. This number will surely get higher as more and more young people find no other way to escape their pain – while Gambling is relentlessly promoted to them as a way to escape their dreary lives.

Gambling in Under 16’s QUADRUPLES in Two Years

Three months ago in November 2018 the Gambling Commission reported that the number of child gamblers had quadrupled in just two years, to more than 50,000.

The Gambling Commission study suggests that 450,000 children aged 11 to 16 bet regularly – more than those who have taken drugs, smoked or drunk alcohol.

So the idea that:

PTSD & ADD => Gambling Addiction

isn’t just a theory – it’s already happening, and explains why the number of young gamblers has recently risen so rapidly. They cannot bear to be present in themselves, either on a concious or subconcious level.

It also explains why the number of gambling-related suicides is rising.

Anyone with a gambling problem should read my new book The Unbelievable Truth about Gambling Addiction which will help you understand why you cannot gamble normally. It will also teach you how to repair your brain and rebuild your life, so you can leave the addiction behind.


For more, see:

# BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47317891  – PTSD affects one in 13 by age of 18

# BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46286945 – number of child gamblers quadruples in just 2 years

# Gambling Commission: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/survey-data/Young-People-and-Gambling-2018-Report.pdf

# Lancet Study: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(19)30031-8/fulltext

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