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When Does Gambling Become an Addiction?

Experts link gambling addiction to changes in the brain, alcohol addiction and genetic qualifiers—and easy access to temptations like slot machines.

In Kenya gambling addiction among youth has reached the highest levels on the African continent, according to a report by the Daily Nation. While the government is cracking down on illegal gaming, slot machines continue to pop up in front of stores and even in rural communities.

Experts say this easy access to gambling is contributing to widespread addiction. Researchers at Harvard say that those who become addicted to gambling are also five times more likely to have a dependency on alcohol. These individuals may have a genetic makeup that makes them more likely to engage in “impulsive behaviour,” according to the report.

The University of Nairobi’s Dr. Paul Bundi Karau said that when gamblers “get hooked” on increased levels of dopamine—which help control the brain’s pleasure center—they become addicted to placing bets. Their levels of dopamine drop when they are not gambling.

“Sometimes the only cure is intense psychotherapy,” Dr. Karau told the Daily Nation.

Read the full article here: Why is gambling so addictive?

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