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BBC Explores The Origins Of Gambling Addiction

Fans of hard hitting news often turn the UK-based BBC organization for thorough exposes and reports. We too find them to be quite exceptional, which is why we were especially pleased when they published an in-depth article on gambling addiction. The famed site certainly did their homework on the subject and provided some interesting insights into why people get hooked on the concept of betting.

Written by Dr. Ricardo Twumasi, the piece digs into biological human needs certain people have when it comes to taking risks and earning rewards. There is an actual chemical element associated with this. Of course, we are talking about dopamine; which happens to be one of the same triggers for drug and alcohol addictions.

“Taking risks is part of human nature,” Dr. Twumasi writes. “Whether it is gambling on a slot machine or riding a skateboard, every day we engage in activities offering both a potential risk and a potential reward. We are motivated to take these risks by the release of dopamine, which activates the same pleasurable reward pathways in our brains as eating our favorite food or having sex.”

Dr. Twumasi goes on to add that risk taking can be very positive in certain scenarios (like when it leads to entrepreneurship or enhanced creativity). But, as with gambling, the increased desire to take risks can sometimes cause harm.

The BBC’s research revealed some interesting stats when it comes to those more prone to forming an addiction. According to their data, men are five times more likely to fall victim than women. Prime ages appear to be between 25 to 34 and minorities do seem to have a stronger proclivity to this.

The warning signs for a problem gambler include outward anxiety or stress. It is also common for those with betting issues to abuse substances, such as cocaine. And, similar to alcoholism, the BBC did uncover possible genetic links (as in those with gambling addicted family members are put at a higher risk).

Dr. Twumasi also correctly pointed out that the amount of people addicted to gambling could grow substantially in the coming years. More accessibility to betting via apps and mobile games is only increasing the problem; a major takeaway that he believes needs to be addressed.

We too feel that this problem is far more serious than the press may lead on about. And with big betting events like the Super Bowl on the horizon, it’s one worth keeping top of mind. If you or a person you care about is suffering from a gambling addiction, please reach out to someone who can help.