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Causes of gambling addiction

The causes of gambling addiction are many, however they can be loosely grouped into three categories: biological, social, and cultural.


Recent research indicates that there may be biological causes of gambling addiction. It has been noted by researchers that pathological gamblers have lower levels of a chemical secreted by the body called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is secreted naturally in moments of stress, arousal, or excitement. Some speculate that gambling triggers the release of norepinephrine in gamblers when gambling – thus creating dependence. Likewise, neuro-researchers at the Harvard Medical School Division have discovered that gambling can produce brain activity in gamblers that is similar to brain activity observed in cocaine addicts after taking cocaine.

Causes of Gambling Addiction
Causes of gambling addiction


Some social causes of gambling addiction have been identified as well. Abuse in homes where gambling was an issue is one of the social causes of gambling addiction, while problems with personal relationships has been identified as another. A study conducted in 1991 on the relationships of American men found that 10% of compulsive gamblers were married more than two times, while only 2% of non-gambling men where married more than twice. One may conclude from this that the social causes of gambling addiction are tied in with intimacy and interpersonal issues

One of the cultural causes of gambling addiction in North America, may come as a result of growing up in a culture that esteems wealth above character development; whereas cultural causes of gambling addiction in Asian communities may be due to a cultural preoccupation with luck, fate, and chance.


In any event, the causes of gambling addiction must be addressed on all three levels if we are to curb the spread of such a harsh affliction.