Study Finds Brain Function Abnormalities in Gambling Addicts
Researchers at the University of Granada have conducted a study comparing brain function in cocaine addicts and gambling addicts. The study showed that gambling addicts show brain function abnormalities which affect their decision making abilities.The researchers found that gambling addicts showed brain function abnormalities in areas of the prefrontal cortex. The abnormalities were related to the severity of the addiction and affected the gamblers ability to control their impulses and make decision.
The lead researcher, Ana Torres, explained that “these bad decisions affect the individuals’ ability to recognize and evaluate loss; even when this is not financial loss.” Furthermore, they found that the volunteers who took part in the research tended to take more bad decisions when they were experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety or sadness.
As a result of the study the researchers have found key issues that rehabilitation-oriented treatment for gambling addicts should include, especially in the most severe cases. They have identified the necessity to treat the emotional problems that trigger the need to gamble and for the patient to undergo specific training to enable them to adequately evaluate losses and their consequences.