What Does Gambling Do To Your Brain?

  • Updated
  • By Daryl Charman
gambling do to brain

While gambling on sports or at online casinos can be a lot of fun, there are a lot of risks attached to it as well.

From the outside, gambling may just seem like a bad habit to some, but in fact, the psychological and mental impact it has on a person’s brain is a lot more serious.

What do studies say?

According to Imperial College London’s latest research, a gambling addiction activates the same brain pathways as drug and alcohol cravings.

The findings also revealed that there’s a weakening of the certain parts of the brain that control our instinctive impulses, meaning those with a gambling addiction are more likely to cave.

The two biggest causes of gambling addictions are virtual roulette and sports gambling.

In the same study, scientists found that the two most affected parts of the brain, the insula and nucleus accumbens, were extremely active when those with a clear gambling addiction were shown a picture associated with gambling.  

Why is gambling so addictive?

Like certain junk foods make us happy, gambling can have a similar effect on the brain. As you continue to place more bets, you start to formulate a habit in your head.

Your brain will then condition itself into wanting more until it receives its reward – i.e. winning. But as you know, gambling doesn’t always end in success, which can lead to someone continuing until they have no money left.

When you win a bet, the main neurotransmitter in the brain will release dopamine. This chemical is something only experienced in full when you’re stimulated and enjoying something, leading to pleasure and added motivation to repeat the activity.

Gambling can have this effect on your brain.

If you think that you may need some help tackling a gambling problem, get in touch with the specialists at GamCare.