Biomonitoring For Gambling Dependency

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Gambling is the act of placing a bet on a valuable object with the hope of gaining cash or material possessions in casinos and sports books, for example slots and table games. Therefore, gambling requires three components: consideration (a wager), risk (a chance), and reward.

However, since it is a well-known fact that gambling almost always ends in loss, it is interesting to neuroscience research because it is a perfect example of risky decision-making. 

Additionally, gambling dependency or addiction is seen as a behavioral addiction that could provide valuable insights into addictive mechanisms triggered even without physical drug intake. 

What Is Biomonitoring, And How Can It Be Used For Assessing Risks For Gambling Dependency?

Biomonitoring uses biological markers to study the health effects of various environmental and situational factors. In this context, biomonitoring for gambling dependency uses biological markers to assess an individual’s risk for developing or worsening gambling addiction. 

Biomonitoring can identify those at high risk for developing gambling problems so that they can be provided with early intervention and treatment services. It can also provide more insight into how gambling dependency affects the human brain and mental health, as well as compare this addiction with other addictive behaviors. 

Different Types Of Biomonitors Used For Biomonitoring For Gambling Dependency

Several different types of biomonitors can be used to evaluate an individual’s risk for gambling addiction. 

Genetic Tests 

These tests look for variations in genes that have been linked to gambling addiction. For example,  one study found that people with a particular variation in the dopamine receptor D4 gene were more likely to develop gambling problems.

Brain Imaging Studies

These studies use techniques such as MRI or PET scans to look for brain changes associated with gambling addiction. For example, one study found that people with gambling addiction had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex involved in planning and decision-making.

Psychophysiological Measures 

These measures assess an individual’s physiological response to gambling stimuli. For example, one study found that people with gambling addiction had an increased heart rate and skin conductance response when exposed to gambling cues.

Self-Report Measures 

These measures assess an individual’s self-reported gambling behavior. For example, one study found that people with gambling addiction were more likely to report chasing losses and gambling more money than they could afford to lose.

The Applications Of Biomonitoring For Gambling Dependency

Based on the evidence from these types of studies, it is clear that biomonitoring can be an effective way to identify those at risk for developing a gambling addiction. It can also be used to monitor those already struggling with gambling addiction to ensure they receive the help and treatment they need.

However, these methods also come with some limitations. For example, they can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, some of them require specialized training and equipment which can’t be found everywhere. 

Despite these limitations, biomonitoring is a promising tool that can be used to help those at risk for gambling addiction. It has the potential to provide early intervention and treatment services that can improve an individual’s chances of recovery.