Nowadays, gambling has become even more affordable than before. Lottery, internet poker, casino have become entertainment for many people. However, there is a group of people who have serious problems. Every man loves the taste of victory. It is the thirst for victory and the reaction of the brain to the feeling of superiority that creates addiction.

Is gambling a mental illness? Let’s find out


Recent research has resulted that gambling problems being equated with the category of alcohol and drug addiction. Behavioral addiction was revealed after brain research that showed that people who are addicted to gambling have much in common with alcoholics and drug addicts. This is evidenced by changes in the activity of certain parts of the brain and human behavior. It becomes interesting to know what gambling does to your brain? First, we need to know about gambling psychology.

After research by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980, gambling addiction was classified as an impulse control disorder. Gambling refers to the uncontrolled craving for the gaming industry, despite all the consequences it causes. For example, the problem with the financial situation, relationships with other people, and mental health in general. Therefore, this has become known as addiction quite recently.

In 2013, gambling addiction was equated to the category of disorders associated with the use of psychoactive substances, drugs, and alcohol.

This decision reveals the theme of gambling and forms a new understanding of the common features between gambling and other addictions.

Drug addiction has many common diagnostic traits with gambling addiction. These are tolerance, attempts to stop playing, or do it less often, interference in the lives of others. If a person has been gambling for a long time, he has a thirst to raise the bet. This can be compared to long drug use. Over time, for a sharper result, you should increase the dosage. The psychology of gambling causes not very pleasant sensations, so you have to be careful.

The main thing we have in common is withdrawal. If a person tries to quit playing, he suffers from insomnia and becomes irritable. The person feels relieved when he returns to the game. Some studies say that gamblers with addiction and drug addicts have a common genetic predisposition to impulsive behavior.

What does gambling do to your brain?

why people gamble

Brain research contributed to the classification of gambling to other dependencies. They showed that gambling activates the same parts of the brain as drugs. The main influence is the reward zone of the brain.

If a person who has a great interest in gambling will watch videos or movies about gambling, changes in blood flow in certain areas of the brain will indicate which of them are more active. One study has proven that gamblers and drug addicts show the same results with the same experiment. When watching the video related to their addictions, both groups of people were on an MRI scanner. The results showed a decrease in activation in the ventral stripe.

Why is gambling bad for you?

Scientists explain the results of the study by the fact that people with problems in gambling have a deficit in benefits. According to them, people with addiction have an inactive brain reward system, and people strive to meet this desire. Different ways to stimulate reward zones may include increased doses of drugs and gambling.

The prefrontal cortex is also one of the main areas that are active in gambling and drug use. It is responsible for the decision-making process and for controlling impulsive behavior. This suggests that people who are gambling are more impulsive than others. This is facilitated by reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex. There are also problems with the sense of reward, which prevents healthy handling of current and long-term consequences.

Why do people gamble?

gambling addiction

Despite the research above, it is not clear whether gambling can have a serious impact on the brain. All people initially have different brain structures and functions that push them to gamble. Many factors may influence changes in the brain, and the dependence on gambling may be one of them.

The development of neuroscience may reveal different types of problematic gamblers and what treatment can be developed for them.

All studies tell us that there is a connection between gambling and other addictions. Junkies and gamblers have common features not only in behavior but also in the brain. Addiction is now perceived as a desire for rewards, despite the consequences that may arise. First of all, behavior and a sense of victory cause addiction, which is perceived as a reward.

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