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Psychiatrist Reveals Why People Get Addicted to Online Gambling

8 September 2023 00:51 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaA psychiatrist from the University of Indonesia, Adhi Wibowo Nurhidayat, discloses the reasons why people cannot control their desires or become addicted to online gambling. Adhi says one of them is due to dysregulation in parts of the brain, namely the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).

The vmPFC contributes to various social, cognitive, and affective functions, while OFC is responsible for the cognitive process of decision-making. People with such dysregulation not only fail to stop impulse gambling but also experience problems with other cognitive functions.

“They cannot keep track of time, on how long they have not slept. They cannot think clearly because their cognitive function is impaired. Then, they cannot be able to plan things well,” Adhi explained.

Adhi, who is also a member of the Association of Indonesian Mental Medicine Specialists, reiterates that the brain has a reward system that can make it easier for people to feel comfortable and enthusiastic about gambling.

“The reward system that exists in the brain of someone who uses [illegal] drugs has the same path as in behavioral addictions such as gambling,” Adhi added.

Easy access to online gambling platforms

In addition to brain dysregulation, there are many factors that lead people to become addicted to gambling, one of which is ease of access. In the past, people had to visit casinos or buy lottery tickets to gamble. But at present, thanks to technology, all they need is a gadget.

Another factor is the economic situation. People having financial difficulties tend to want to get rich in an instant. Based on his experience and that of his colleagues, Adhi claims that online gambling has penetrated all levels of society, both upper and lower middle class.

On August 23, 2023, Minister of Communication and Information (Kominfo) Budi Arie Setiadi declared that the country is under a state of emergency regarding online gambling due to rampant casino platforms and massive advertising. The government continues to make diverse efforts to eradicate online gambling.

ANTARA

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