Joanna Franklin, education coordinator for the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, likewise noted that the type and degree of problem gambling is best viewed as a continuum, from less severe cases to those whose pathological gambling "meets absolute clinical criteria."
"We always thought it was environmental," she
said of the view in past years.
In some cases it may be.But, Ms. Franklin
noted, research ultimately began to point to some other possible causes.Some research has honed in on the brain's prefrontal cortex.Associated with judgment and decision-making, some compulsive gamblers have exhibited damage to that region of their brains.Science also points toward increased levels of dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter, in the brains of compulsive gamblers.Then, too, other research points toward genetic predisposition in some people.
With a range of possible causes, Ms. Franklin
, who has traveled the country educating treatment professionals about gambling addiction, encourages her
pupils to keep an open mind on treatment options.
"We give them lots of tools to employ in the assessment process," she
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