New research suggests that there could be a link between those who suffer from gambling addictions and how their brains process feelings of euphoria. It is thought that the ‘high’ created by addictive behaviour is less obvious in the brains of problem gamblers which is what could be making them more prone to addiction.
In the study which involved 14 problem gamblers and 15 healthy volunteers, scans were used to measure the endorphins released when the opioid system in the brain was stimulated using an amphetamine tablet.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr Inge Mick from the Imperial College London said that the results showed two things:
“Firstly, the brains of pathological gamblers respond differently to this stimulation than the brains of healthy volunteers. Secondly, it seems that pathological gamblers just don’t get the same feeling of euphoria as healthy gamblers do.”
Because they have to work harder to get the same ‘high’ or feeling of euphoria than the average person does, it encourages more gambling which in turn leads to addictive behaviours. It is hoped that the findings of the study could help to develop treatments for the 300,000 people in the UK currently suffering from gambling addictions.
Dr Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University commented:
“This is an interesting study which backs up what we already know from previous research. Gambling is a behavioural addiction which is influenced by biological, psychological and social factors.”
If you would like more information about gambling addictions, the signs and symptoms and how LifeWorks can help you, please feel free to visit our Gambling Addiction Treatment Page. Alternatively, don’t hesitate to contact us in the strictest confidence if you would like any other information.