Dopamine Largely Linked to Gambling High, Says Report

A report has found that Dopamine receptor agonist drugs such as pramipexole and ropinirole are linked to addictive behavior found in gambling and other high-risk activities. Dopamine, which is a receptor in the body associated with feeling pleasure particularly when adrenaline is being used in high amounts, is what many people experience when they become addicted to behavior or events in which they do not know the results. Through these unknown experiences the body produces large amounts of these receptors such as ropinirole that shoot through the body, giving people that impression “they feel alive.” It is because of that rush many people become addicted to activities even if they are dangerous or harmful, something of which is common in the gambling world.

The report stated that more evidence on this theory has become abundant from a study done by the Mayo Clinic. Doctors found that dopamine receptors produced in pill formats distributed to patients with Alzheimer’s disease provided improvements to patients’ overall health but yet they suffered in an unusual aspect – compulsive behavior. Oramipexole and ropinirole in fact were two of major receptors used and are the most common forms of dopamine produced in the body. When ingested in pill format the effects are even stronger as the body processes them differently compared to when they are naturally produced. Nevertheless, links between these drugs and compulsive behavior were found overwhelmingly from the Mayo tests, which sheds light as to what kind of counter treatments might be used for batting addiction.

Addiction to gambling, otherwise known as problem gambling, exists everywhere in the world, but more so in places where casinos are legal. In countries like Canada where the average amount lost per adult gambler is $500, medical facilities are looking to help people suffering from gambling by offering new and possible drugs to help people counter chemical reactions associated with the casino high. However, there are a few debates about this.

There are some medical professionals that believe reducing a gambling addict’s dopamine levels with a counter drug they take on a daily basis will be the best way to balance chemicals in the body. Rather than feeling overwhelmed to fulfill a high the body remains relaxed and satisfied knowing that its dopamine levels are being peaked. The question however is whether it is good for someone to live in a period where dopamine levels are peaked all the time or if a medication should suppress them. This debate is still unanswered and unfortunately means there may still not be a clear answer how to use such a treatment with gambling addicts.

Some doctors believe pushing down dopamine levels will cause increased anxiety and depression while others believe pushing them up will cause a great downturn in mood when a medication ends. Taking someone off of a drug that causes constant pleasure could be dangerous, and withdraw could pose serious risk to one’s overall mental health, claim many doctors.

Dopamine levels can be naturally raised through other activities such as meditation, Qigong, exercise and thinking positive, which in turn can also help the body feel relaxed and preoccupied with something other than gambling. Hospitals and alternative caring centers can consider using these methods rather than drugging people up and expecting them to feel coherent. Drugs do not have to be the answer and gaining mental relaxation and stability through natural cures is usually the best method. Canada rehab facilities are starting to realize this and it is up to the government to also step in and provide education on these matters.

But for now, players need to rethink their approach to how they can fill their insatiable need to gain something beyond what they can’t control. Gambling can be a fun activity but it can also harm many peoples’ lives so trying to understand one’s limits, boundaries and alternative choices are key.

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