Psychological Gambling

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Inside a Pathological Gamblers Mind

Abstract: Few studies have explored the relationship between gambling and health status. Both compulsive and pathological gambling are disorders related to obsession-compulsive disorder. The data supports the notion that gambling does affect with non-gambling health problems. The purpose of this article is to provide the information between gambling behaviors and substance use disorders, health associations, screening and treatment options for problem and pathological gambling. Pathological gambling is an addictive and stress proposing disorder. More research is needed to investigate directly the biological and health relations associated with the different types of gambling behaviors and to define the role for doctors or therapists in the prevention and treatment of problem and pathological gambling.

There are many types of gambling that people indulge in today. People of all ages have been seduced by gambling. Gambling is done every day, so as it continues to grow, so does the debt of the American people. Attractions such as online casinos with jackpots equivalent to ten years salary and simple sports booking, makes it more common today than it was yesterday. Gambling is hard to resist because it offers a feeling of hope, and defines that thin line between reality and fantasy that ends with a mental payoff. The main question with this concern is; is it all about the money?

It couldn't be all about the money, unless the general public was extremely stupid. The odds of winning the lottery are lesser than the odds of someone being struck by lightning (1 in 649,739) or than someone being killed by a terrorist attack abroad (1 in 650,000). (7). It has been said, "If you bought 100 tickets a week your entire adult life, from the age of 18 to 75, you'd have a 1 percent chance of winning the lottery". (7) Now, a number of psychological studies have been done which indicate that the desire to play the lottery has more to do with the inability or unconcern of a person to calculate the total sum of their own money over time spent of these dollar tickets. The hope and fantastic feeling they receive is worth more than the dollar they give the 7-11 clerk at that time.

Casino games create a different sensation. Whether it be cards, slots, or dice games after being seated in front of it for an hour or two there will generally be a win, some kind of win. Usually that win is small. It serves the person, or the brain, with a sort of reward. The reward entices the person to want to continue their game so to get another reward (7).

The basis for this affirmative award is biological. Research done at the Massachusetts General Hospital has showed similar brain activity induced by prize money to food and drug rewards. The scientists measuring this brain activity compared it with giving a cocaine addict an infusion of cocaine. (2) An experiment was set up wherein the brain activity of the subjects was measured while they gambled. "Each subject was offered one of three spinners: a 'good spinner' offered them a chance to earn $10, $2.50, or nothing; an 'intermediate spinner' offered $2.50, $0, or -$1.50; and a 'bad spinner' let them win nothing or lose, -$1.50 or -$6." (3) The brain activity was measured with a high-field functional magnetic resonance imaging, otherwise known as an fMRI, while they were spinning for six seconds and after then after they had spun. The results showed that the brain activity proved to be strong, moderate, and low in accordance with the level of spinning - good, intermediate and bad. The proportions always demonstrated the expected brain activity. The scientists performing this experiment came to the conclusion that money serves as the same type of reward to humans as does drugs and food; it sets into motion a reward mechanism in the brain providing relative stimulus to the amount of reward or loss which is taking place. "The similarity suggests...
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