Gambling Addiction Impacts Decision-Making Area of Brain


prokopton's picture

Gambling Addiction Impacts Decision-Making Area of Brain
PsychCentral.com

A new research effort compares the similarities and differences in psychological profile and brain function among cocaine addicts and gambling addicts. In the study, investigators from the University of Granada determined that gambling addicts have ...A new research effort compares the similarities and differences in psychological profile and brain function among cocaine addicts and gambling addicts.

In the study, investigators from the University of Granada determined that gambling addicts have brain function abnormalities affecting their decision-making capacity.

Previous research has confirmed that cocaine addiction influences the part of the brain (anterior cingulate and part of the prefrontal cortex) necessary for impulse control.

The new research shows that individuals addicted to gambling present other brain function abnormalities in areas of the prefrontal cortex. These are related to the severity of their affliction and affect their capacity to take decisions.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/06/gambling-addiction-impacts-decision-making-area-of-brain/61662.html

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Comments

I am an addict.You wont see

I am an addict.
You wont see the lines on my face or the marks on arms.
My disease has no physical symptoms. It burns just below the surface, like a low-grade fever.

It is compulsive gambling.

I have no desire to imbibe alcohol, smoke pot, eat or shop excessively. But I like to gamble. And when I do it’s a slippery slope, leading to repetitive behavior that has no end game.

Some time ago I realized the folly of gambling, I made sense of its nonsense, its absurdness – it is a lie in which we believe.

I participate in this absurd behavior because of the trick or illusion the mind plays within the addict. The reward of winning creates a powerful drive to gamble no matter the consequences, while jettisoning all rationality.

It’s like playing the shell game. You can get lucky every once in a while but over the long term you are going to lose. And if even in the face of financial losses and the emotional strain that it creates, I continue gambling.

If I know this unalterable fact what do I persist? I don’t know the answer to that but I’m not sure I need to know.
The question is how to avoid the gambling trap.

The obvious solution is to abstain, but that ends up being a tautology.
What is the cognitive strategy for staying away?

In GA, they tell stories of the emotional and personal costs of gambling. They don’t give lectures on the reward system of the brain and function of dopamine. They speak in ways people can relate. Eventually people hear enough stories they begin to understand the pointlessness and destructiveness of gambling. Hopefully when they are tempted they can put the stories on a mental fulcrum and see how it tilts disproportionately to the side of abstaining.

Diary of A Compulsive Gambler, Amazon Kindle


The high is like a

The high is like a stimulant. That's the attraction for many.


A lot of states have passed

A lot of states have passed laws recently permitting a greater amount of lawful gambling, or rather permitting more casinos, bingo halls and slots in numerous areas. The brains of people anticipating a win at the roulette table appear to react much like those taking euphoria-inducing drugs. I have read from an article that the overlap of brain activity seen in the gambling experiment with that found in earlier studies of drug use indicates that the brain uses the same circuitry for "the processing of diverse rewards."


Tipping the brain towards abstaining

I have already felt positive effects from reading about the destructive effects of gambling, but also from the stories of positivity and hope.Maybe both could help to overide the compulsion to gamble.


Changes in the decision making part of the brain.

Obviously anyone wishing to give up gambling must find ways to counteract the effects it's had ie.the rewiring of the brain.I have heard a number of runners say that they get a 'high'and are 'hooked' on it.It would be interesting to know if there is any scientific evidence to suggest that this more positive form of addiction could be successful in overriding this condition.

The brain can change as it learns new things.

The decision making part of the brain would have to decide wether or not to do it,of course! ????


prokopton's picture

Some people may have the

Some people may have the condition to begin with, thus the gambling problem.

Some people may develop the condition after prolonged gambling.

As a former compulsive gambler and drug addict, I'm aware the two are the same. They affect brain chemicals the same way.

Gambling is a drug. Gambling releases the same "feel good" brain chemicals as stimulants such as cocaine.


'Feel good' brain chemicals

Running releases endorphins.

This release of chemicals is what produces the 'High'.

Is it possible that the 'feel good' factor gained from running could override the one gained from gambling and act as a substitute.

Could it re- wire the brain in a healthy and positive way?


prokopton's picture

Yes. It's called "The

Yes. It's called "The Runner's High."

Again, replace gambling with something else. Replace gambling with running or another hobby.