Medwatch-Lottery Fever

Medwatch-Lottery Fever

(CNN) -With lottery jackpots at historical highs, many people are succumbing to 'lottery fever.'

While your chances of winning the jackpot may be slim, Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Joseph Rock says that your brain isn't too worried about your odds of taking home the big prize.

"Our brains aren't wired to think about probability. We understand the chances aren't that good, but we can delude ourselves, and 'Hey, I've got as good as a chance as anybody,'" Dr. Rock explained.

According to Dr. Rock, everyone wants to dream and there is actually a part of our brain where fantasy is almost as good as reality. People like to think about what they would do if they won the money—a new house, a new car or perhaps a lavish vacation.

Dr. Rock says there are hormones that are released when we fantasize that can make us feel better. But for people who spend too much of their income on lottery tickets, it could be a sign of a gambling problem.

"It's low-level gambling if you're kicking in a couple of bucks, but I've also talked to people who are, you know, spending $100, $200 a week and they think this is how they're going to make their living, that becomes problematic," Dr. Rock said.

Dr. Rock believes most people can keep their lottery expectations realistic, but for people struggling with gambling issues, he suggests avoiding the temptation to buy tickets by keeping cash out of sight.

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