As a fellow Parkinson's patient myself, I have been diagnosed with the Young Onset disease now for 4 years and counting. I've noticed the classic signs of the disease which entail tremors, difficulty walking, and shuffling of the feet and more. But one symptom I have been keenly aware of is an overwhelming urge to play "Texas Hold'em" poker. Poker? Why?
While some may think I am joking, I can most assuredly tell you that this "urge" is nothing to laugh about. Sure, it sounds ridiculous, but when you examine the disease of Parkinson's there is a chemical reason for urges or cravings that patients experience.
A Closer Look at Parkinson's Disease
There are several factors that may cause the disease but the one factor that causes the physical and emotional symptoms is a lack of the chemical called "dopamine" within the brain. This chemical regulates a general state of well-being in humans. If a person doesn't produce enough dopamine, then depression may result along with a host of other health issues.
Scientists have discovered that when people gamble, dopamine production increases dramatically. The more dopamine that is produced, the better and more invigorated the person feels! Dopamine can be triggered by gambling or exercising. Some people experience a dopamine surge when drinking as well.
A Friendly Game of Poker vs A Gambling Problem
If you or a friend has Parkinson's Disease, it is important to be cognizant of the issues that can result from addictive behavior toward gambling, drinking or any other habit taken to extreme. It doesn't mean you have to quit playing poker, it only means to be aware of these type of situations should they arise.
As the song says, "Know when to hold'em, and Know when to fold'em!"