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Pathological gambling may be successfully treated with medications for substance addiction
Date:12/10/2009

second subtype, gamblers who have difficulty inhibiting their behaviors and react to the smallest desires, respond well to medications that act on a specific enzyme, catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT), which plays a major role in the function of the prefrontal cortex. Researchers found that decreasing the function of COMT can increase one's ability to inhibit their desire to gamble.

"By understanding these different subtypes, we are able to target the core biology of the illness with individualized treatment," said Jon Grant, MD, JD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and ACNP member. "When we look at pathological gambling as an addiction and try to understand the sense of urges and inhibitions, we are able to target the treatment with medication more effectively."

Grant cautioned that while these results are exciting and a majority of people respond to these medications, there are still some for whom these medications do not work. Additional research is needed to further refine the subtypes.

Pathological gambling affects approximately one to two percent of the population. Currently available treatments are associated with extremely high relapse rates.


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Contact: Sharon Reis
sreis@gymr.com
202-745-5103
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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