Gambling addiction: Does a new medication help?

  • Copy URL
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
Peter Brandt 9. October 2019

Gambling is usually exciting and exciting, but can also take other features in some people who, in the worst case, result in a gambling addiction. Last month, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a study of Finnish researchers who dealt with the use of the active ingredient naloxone in gambling addiction. The results give hope for successful treatment of people with gambling dependency.

The active ingredient naloxone was taken up by the participants similar to nasal spray during the examination period. ((© image source)

The causes of gambling addiction are diverse

The addiction addiction falls under the section mental illness And can therefore have a variety of causes that occur individually for each individual. As a rule, it is almost impossible to define a crucial reason for the dependence on games of chance, since several factors interlock. Psychologist Gerhard Hofman knows the aspects that influence the risk of developing a gambling addiction:

“People who have a general problem with checking their feelings or quickly overwhelmed in conflict situations are more at risk of play addiction than people who can better control themselves. Impulsiveness does not necessarily have to end in a pathological player, but can represent a risk factor. ”

The environment is significantly involved in gambling addiction development. If a person with reference grows up too much gambling, the affinity and thus the grant is higher. This creates an increased risk. The same applies to that social environment. it affects human behavior and can decisively influence the attitude towards gambling. it is not uncommon for those affected to have problems with self -esteem and difficulties with emotional relationships before the gambling addiction. in order to fulfill the desire for protection and stability, affected people turn to gambling. that Gambling itself only acts as a buffer And should eliminate the assistance. The real problems are usually much deeper. In addition, other mental illnesses such as depressions are related to gambling addiction.

Medicine as a salvation?

Although the pathological gambling addiction is officially regarded as a disease, only a strikingly low proportion of people affected goes into a professional treatment. researchers from helsinki took this facts as an impulse for their study. the opaqueness of the disease and social taboo make it urgently needed that effective, easily applicable and, above all, patient -friendly forms of treatment are integrated into everyday clinical life. the first results of the pilot study date from 2017 and provide the first assessments of the possible medication Treatment of gambling addiction with naloxone. The focus of the examinations was placed on the compatibility, feasibility and effect of the administration of naloxone in the event of gambling addiction. Dr. Sari Castén, currently working in the Finnish Ministry of Health, is the head of the pilot study and had a precise idea for the approach:

“We acquired 20 participants, eleven women and nine men for the study. All subjects suffered from a pathological gambling addiction. In order to obtain comparable results, we divided them into two groups of ten people each. The active ingredient naloxone in the form of a nasal spray was administered to both parties, which was applied independently with increasing addiction pressure. ”

The exact course of the study provided for the two comparison groups to take a different maximum dose per day. For group A, the upper limit was 8 milligrams. If necessary, the participants were able to administer 2 milligrams up to four times a day. With Group B, the maximum was set at 16 milligrams.

Application shows successes

The evaluations of research showed significant successes, which Decline of game pressure and depression manifested. in the framework of the study, there were no negative occurrences regarding gambling on 73 percent of the days. the participants perceived the addiction. the depressive symptoms in particular experienced declining development. a total of 15 subjects indicate that they use the treatment method More control over gambling addiction had received. Although success groups were achieved, successes could be achieved, but it turned out that a higher dosage naloxone was more effective. Group B, however, showed a lower game pressure as group A. Sari Castén points out that the results are still to be enjoyed with caution:

“The results of the pilot study are positive, but there are still some construction sites. Despite a low dosage, some group A test subjects complained about naloxone-typical side effects such as nausea or headache. It has to be kept in mind. The investigations were also carried out on only 20 people. There can hardly be talk about representative symbolism. “

There are some critical findings on the warning words of the research manager. Although the urge to exercise the gambling addiction compared to before, there was sometimes a Increase in gambling expenses be determined. Despite the required optimization of treatment with naloxone, almost all participants are positive. A 29-year-old subject emphasized the taking of the medication and explained:

“An easy -to -use medication. I didn’t have to explain to anyone which medication I take because it resembles a normal nasal spray – and it is a psychological crutch that is easy to use. “