'Excessive optimism' could be cause of gambling addiction

An 'optimism bias' that affects decisions in high-risk situations could be one of the root causes of gambling addiction, according to new research cited by esciencenews.com.

The research, conducted by Jean-Claude Dreher's research team at the Centre de Neurosciences Cognitives, wished to explain why certain individuals were vulnerable to excessive gambling.

They found that pathological gamblers - characterised by a loss of impulse control or behavioural addiction - are unable to limit the frequency of gambling and have skewed views on probabilities.

Regardless of the objective probability of winning a high-risk bet, gamblers tend to act 'as though this probability were greater than it actually is', claims the study. This has been dubbed as an 'optimism bias' that claims the gambler has a better chance of winning than the stated odds, adds sciencedaily.com.

Overall, pathological gamblers tend to create financial, professional and personal hardships that have 'severe consequences' for themselves and people around them.

However, there are a number of ways to treat gambling addiction. For instance, a hypnotherapy course could discover any root causes for the addiction, as well as further underlying reasons that are buried deep in the patient's psyche.

Furthermore, the study also discovered the intensity of this 'optimism bias' significantly correlated to the severity of the symptoms.