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You’re Addicted To Gambling – Now What?  Part III: Medication Treatment

Today is the last post in our 3-part series on pathological gambling (PG).  (Here are Post #1 and #2).  Today we’ll look at Medication Treatment for PG.

3 classes of medication have been found to help PG.

  1. Opioid Antagonists
    These medications, like Naltrexone, work the same way that they do with heroin addiction.  The medication blocks dopamine, which gives gamblers the “high” from gambling excitement, as well as cravings.  No high = less reason to gamble.
  2. Antidepressants
    SSRI-type antidepressants, like Prozac, have shown some effect, but the overall benefit remains unclear.  Particularly interesting is that antidepressants work even if the gambler isn’t depressed.
  3. Mood Stabilizers
    Medications like Lithium, used for bipolar disorder, help with gambling when it’s associated with bipolar disorder.  What could be interesting about these type of medications is that they’re useful for many other conditions were behavior control is a problem, so they might be promising.

We’re only at the beginning stages of finding the best treatment approaches for PG.  Stay tuned…

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