Compulsive gambling Blame the genes not the individual
Compulsive gambling is often known as a disorder that breaks homes, ruins live by causing a financial meltdown. People’s decision making under risk is often an uncommon tendency not seen among every individual. The variability can be due to many sources such as personality, environment, or differences in brain structure and function.
Gambling can impact the brain's reward system much like how alcohol and drugs can, leading to uncontrollable urges. Though a disorder hard to overcome, many affected have found help by seeking professional help.
Dopamine- The happy hormone
The urge for people to gamble is due to a hormone known as dopamine. This naturally occurring forms the basis and leads to all addictions. Though other factors in play, dopamine is the biggest player in the field.
Dopamine, the happy hormone is definitely essential for the human race. It can be released during sex or even when eating something tasty. When the dopamine level inside a person rises, it is natural for them to want more. In some cases, people go and claim this externally by developing gambling or drug addiction.
Previous studies have studied the relationship between gene variation and decision making but have mostly focused on dopamine systems. Researchers suggest that gambling addiction can likely be inherited and is due to genetic factors more than the environment.
Why some people are affected more?
It is not the amount of dopamine itself, but the body’s lack of response to the chemical that causes the issue. More dopamine produces more pleasure, which in turn leads to more chances of addiction. This means that a person who has a biological tendency to produce an excessive amount of dopamine is more likely to be addicted.
It would definitely be incorrect to state that an imbalance in dopamine leads to gambling addiction. There are various other factors that can promote or hinder gambling addiction, in which dopamine is a contributory factor. One such factor is inherited gene variants. These variants can potentially alter the gene functioning, similar to mutations that put people at risk of gambling addiction.
Genetic testing- A plausible solution
If any signs of gambling tendency, it is highly advisable to seek professional help. Advancements in the medical field can determine the levels of dopamine through genetic testing. The levels of neurotransmitter- dopamine can vary depending on the genes inherited or even due to genetic mutations. Genetic testing by sequencing a DNA sample can confirm if a person has high or low labels of dopamine.
Since the sequencing of the whole gene is known, genetic testing can be performed to confirm if a person is capable of gambling addiction. Depending on the outcome, the professional may offer solutions such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antagonists.
It is also worth mentioning that numerous people come from addicted families, but does not mean all of them will succumb to addiction at some point in their life. Many such individuals have overcome their family history and lead happy, fulfilled lives. Not all cases of addiction are genetic and it can highly be influenced due to environment and lifestyle.
Drafted By : Genetic Healing
Edited By : Dr. Amol Raut
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