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Are You Genetically Predisposed to Problem Gambling?

People all around the globe take on gambling as a fun way to pass the time. Some people, however, may develop a problematic pattern of behavior that has unfavorable effects on their lives, the lives of others around them, and the larger community. About 2% of the population has “Gambling Disorder,” a kind of behavioral addiction with serious potential repercussions.

Recent research reveals that genetics may potentially be a major contributing element in the development of gambling problems, in addition to environmental and psychological factors. These studies suggest that our propensity to gamble may be determined more by our genes than by pure response to the thrill of the moment.

According to research in the journal “Addiction,” almost 70% of the variance in gambling behavior between identical and non-identical twins may be have a strong link to genetics. This means that while some of us may enjoy betting now and again and move on, others develop a gambling addiction. The same study also showed that the majority (85%) of adult men’s gambling habit was likely related to their genetics.

Is There a Fix?

Well, hopefully, yes.

Genetic testing has progressed to the point where those who may be at risk for having a gambling issue may get the support they need. The DNA Genotype Profile Test the London Medical Laboratory offers, for instance, may zero down on certain markers in a person’s DNA that has a strong relation to addiction.

The test seems quite effective because it looks for variances in the genes that regulate human behavior. Gambling behavior may be a result of a number of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and OCD, all of which have been links to mutations in the HTR2A gene. A variation of the CNR1 gene termed “rs1049353” has been discovered to affect addictive behavior and reward processing, suggesting an association of this gene with problem gambling. Those who have this variation tend to wager more than the general population.

What This Means for You

While there are other factors at play, knowing your genetic predispositions for developing a gambling illness might help you take preventative measures. For instance, if you’re prone to gambling problems, staying away from areas where you may readily access gaming and keeping busy with other things could be helpful.

Genetic testing can provide valuable insights into an individual’s risk of developing a gambling disorder. Knowing your genetic predispositions may help you take preventative measures to lower your chance of developing a gambling addiction so that you can continue to enjoy gaming safely even if it is in your genes – hopefully, that is not the case.

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