Would it be better if compulsive gamblers just jumped off rooftops?
With parachutes, of course.
Research shows that addicted gamblers and extreme sports athletes have a great deal in common which raises questions as to whether it could be possible to better channel the thrill-seeking impulses some people have:
“We figured that skydivers typically are thrill-seeking individuals. What’s particularly interesting is that they are healthy people, who do not have a diagnosis or are considered to be ill in any way. As it turned out, they scored more extremely than compulsive gamblers in all the target groups we set,” Myrseth says.
“One of our major discoveries was that extreme scores for impulsiveness or thrill-seeking don’t have to be negative or linked to a diagnosis, such as gambling addiction. It may as well be connected to more wholesome leisure activities, such as extreme sports,” Myrseth argues.
The work of Myrseth’s team suggests that compulsive gamblers may be able to get their kicks without risking health and ruin. Both gamblers and extreme sport athletes show a strong desire for intense stimulus. For skydivers this arises from the intensely compressed nature of the sport. For gamblers it can lead to increasing sums of money being put into play.
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