How Gambling Affects Your Brain

Gambling Jun 12, 2024

Gambling involves risking money or anything else of value on a random event where chance determines the outcome. It’s a high-risk, low-reward entertainment choice and it comes with the risk of addiction. People gamble for social, financial or entertainment reasons. They think about what they would do if they won the lottery, they want to get that rush or ‘high’ from gambling and they believe winning will change their lives for the better.

When you play a game of chance, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and excited. This happens in the same parts of your brain as it does when you take drugs. Research suggests that repeated exposure to gambling can cause lasting changes in the way your brain processes reward information and controls impulses.

Many communities think of gambling as a common pastime and this can make it hard to recognise when someone has a problem. Culture can also influence how you perceive your own gambling habits and how you see others’.

When it comes to casino games, the best advice is to start with a fixed amount of money that you’re prepared to lose and stick to it. Avoid tipping dealers in cash and only use chips, this will help you control your spending. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated and don’t drink too much free cocktails. If you find yourself thinking that you’re due a win or that you can recoup your losses, this is known as the “gambler’s fallacy” and is a sure sign that it’s time to stop gambling.