Gambling & Heroin Addictions Gambling addiction is “an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop.” Heroin addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on any form of heroin after continuous use.
Contributing Factors GamblingHeroin Behavioural/ Mood disorders Substance Abuse ADHD Depression Common in younger/middle aged people Family history of addiction Mental disorder Peer pressure Difficult home life Anxiety, depression, loneliness Other addictive drugs
Brain Activity While Gambling This is what a person sitting in a casino may hear. “The brains of people anticipating a win at the roulette table appear to react much like those taking euphoria- inducing drugs”(ABC News). The sounds and atmosphere surrounding a compulsive gambler is addicting. In a recent study, the blood flow to the brain after a big win was similar to drug addicts infusing cocaine.
Brain Activity While Gambling Cont. In our brain, there is a series of circuits that are called the reward system. This system links various scattered brain regions involved in memory, movement, pleasure and motivation. When stimulated, the neurons release dopamine, which gives the body satisfaction and encourages a habit to form. After continuous release of this hormone, the body makes less of it, and the brain craves more of it. For a gambler, this means participating in riskier ventures. Experts used to think of addiction as dependency on a chemical, they now define it as repeatedly pursuing a rewarding experience despite serious repercussions.
Brain Activity While on Heroin When an addict takes heroin, endorphins are released. Endorphins are feel good chemicals that are released in the brain when the body experiences pain or stress. Endorphins flood the space between nerve cells and usually inhibit neurons from firing, thus creating a numbing effect. The person feels good, high, or euphoric, and feels relief from pain.
Cycle Of Addiction for Gambling Experiences a series of wins More frequent play and higher expectations of winning Frequent play, But frequent losses Financial difficulties “Chasing Losses” Low income, increasing debt Can lead to crime to obtain money to continue gambling
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