How Gambling Addiction Affects Your BrainAugust 14, 2018
Most people love gambling because of the awesome experience and the possibility of winning huge prizes. However, some gamblers (3%) don’t have fun because of the negative impacts of gambling on their life including financial problems. Scientific research has revealed that gambling addiction is caused by many factors in addition to the inability to control oneself.
You probably think of drugs and alcohol-related problems when you hear of the word addict. However, the current psychotic disorder standard (DSM-5) shows that gambling disorders and gambling addiction are the same. The National Center for Responsible Gaming found out that gambling disorders have the same characteristics as substance abuse disorders. For this reason, the treatment methods used to treat substance abusers can treat problem gamblers.
Effects of Problem Gambling
Addicted gamblers behave like people who are addicted to drugs. They tell lies, experience mental and physical problems, and exhibit withdrawal symptoms. According to one DSM-5 contributor, Dr. Charles O’Brien, gambling and drugs have similar effects on the human reward system. Gambling causes the brain to release dopamine and that’s why gamblers enjoy gambling.
Some people have a flawed reward system, which makes them more vulnerable to compulsive gambling than others. Such people are also vulnerable to Parkinson’s disease due to dopamine malfunction.
It’s important to bear in mind that problem gamblers are just like other people. The only difference is that they are more likely to develop problem gambling than other people because of brain-related problems. The possible causes of these problems include environmental and genetic factors.
If you reach a point where gambling seems to interfere with the quality of your life, seek help as soon as possible. Some useful services include GambleAware, Gamblers Anonymous, and the National Council on Problem Gambling.