Objective: Gambling disorder is the first behavioral addiction recognized in the DSM-5. This marks the growing realization that both behavioral and substance-related addictions are manifestations of an ‘addicted brain’ displaying similar altered neurophysiological mechanisms. A decreased electrophysiological visual P300 is considered a hallmark effect of substance-related addictions, but has not yet been shown in behavioral addictions. Methods: Magnetoencephalographic recordings of 15 gamblers and 17 controls were taken as they performed a cue-reactivity paradigm in which they passively viewed addiction- and non-addiction-related cues. Results: The main finding of the study is a reduction in the magnetic counterpart of P300 (M300) for gamblers beyond cue condition over frontal regions. Additionally, we found a significant group by cue-type interaction. Gamblers exhibited heightened sensitivity to addiction-related cues in regions corresponding to the frontoparietal attentional network, whereas controls exhibited an opposite effect localized to the right insula. Conclusions: The results suggest that a reduced P300 characterizes addictions in general, not just substance-related addictions, thus providing important neurophysiological support for the inclusion of behavioral addictions in the DSM-5 and in the incentive-sensitization theory. Significance: The study offers important insights into neural mechanisms underlying behavioral addictions, and may assist in developing better prevention and intervention strategies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Anti-Drug Authority to Prof. Rassovsky. Prof. Gal Yadid serves as the Chair of the Research Committee for the Israel Anti-Drug Authority. The funding agency had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication. None of the other authors have any potential conflicts of interest regarding this research.
© 2018 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology
- Gambling disorder