In the research, which was conducted between Imperial and the National Problem Gambling Clinic, scientists studied 19 patients with gambling addiction, and 19 healthy volunteers.
The most commonly reported problematic forms of gambling among the patients were electronic roulette and sports gambling.
Clinical experiments seem to have two parallel objectives: neurophysiological malfunctions of the brain and the addict as the person.
Two epistemologies and two concepts of addiction are working side by side in the clinical reasoning of the Finnish experts: the neurobiological one for framing the ‘addicted brain’, and the one derived from cognitive behavioral therapy for the addict.
doi: Paper discusses the impact of the neuroscientific concept of addiction and expectations related to neurosciences in a clinical setting for treatment of addiction disorders.
Design: A case study based on qualitative analysis of scientific publications, research plans, presentations, and interviews of Finnish experts in gambling addictions.They found that, in problem gamblers, the insula and nucleus accumbens were highly active when they were shown an image associated with gambling, and experienced a craving.Interestingly, the team also found that weaker connections between the nucleus accumbens and an area called the frontal lobe in problem gamblers were associated with greater craving.Conclusions: The role of the neurobiological concept of gambling addiction is to back up the therapeutic promise of the experimental project.In a reciprocal manner, the expectation to extend treatment options by the project findings justifies the neuroscientific approach.It can result in people losing their job, and leave families and children homeless."We know the condition may have a genetic component -- and that the children of gambling addicts are at higher risk of gambling addiction themselves -- but we still don't know the exact parts of the brain involved.The frontal lobe, which is involved in decision-making, may help keep the insula in-check by controlling impulses, explained Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes, co-author from the Department of Medicine at Imperial."Weak connections between these regions have also been identified in drug addiction.After 18 months, roughly 40 percent of the initial shock persists, though estimates become less precise.These estimates provide an upper bound on the degree of addictiveness in lottery gambling.