How The Brain Gets Addicted To Gambling

Addictive drugs and gambling rewire neural circuits in similar ways.

Gambling had been part of the American culture since the early 1800’s. At fist glance gambling often appears to be a harmless form of entertainment, or at worst, a lesser vice.  However, for individuals that become problem or pathological gamblers it can be catastrophic.  Through this often “hidden addiction” affected individuals will often lose everything: family, friends, and any financial security they might once have had (e.g., home, savings, retirement). 

Recently, the American Psychiatric Association that oversees the diagnoses of gambling has reclassified from a compulsive disorder to an addiction disorder.  The treatment of compulsive and addiction disorders are handled very differently. Addictive gambling disorder therapy treatment may be much more intensive than that of compulsive disorders.  

A recent article in the journal Scientific American: How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling:Addictive drugs and gambling rewire neural circuits in similar ways, sheds light on the brain process. With greater understanding there can be more promising outcomes for treatment.