NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Friday, November 02, 2007

Spotlight on Research: Can Medication Manage Disordered Gambling Behavior? Newest Trends in Research

Research indicates a clear relationship between biological vulnerabilities and the development of a gambling disorder. For example, a vulnerability might be insufficient levels of chemicals – or neurotransmitters – in the brain that regulate mood and judgment. If the low mood is elevated by an activity like gambling, the person could develop a gambling problem. Furthermore, the simultaneous occurrence of depression and other psychiatric problems with a gambling disorder underlines the importance of exploring drug treatments for pathological gambling.

However, currently there is no treatment standard for disordered gambling and no medication has been approved by the FDA for treating the disorder.

Dr. Jon Grant, associate professor of psychiatry and co-director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has done extensive research in this area. A review essay published in 2006 and co-authored by Dr. S.W. Kim examined the results of studies looking at three types of drugs used to treat pathological gambling – antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and opioid antagonists. Results from some of these controlled clinical trials are promising and could eventually lead to significant improvement in the lives of people struggling with a gambling disorder.

Grant will discuss this research and its important implications for treatment during the conference session Can Medication Manage Disordered Gambling Behavior? Newest Trends in Research, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11. To access Grant’s full study click here, or visit the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders’ NCRG Conference Resource Page. When prompted, please enter the case-sensitive password: institute.

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