Addiction

Study: Treat Gambling Addicts with Drugs for 2 Years

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A new report is suggesting treating gambling addicts with drugs for as many as two years to cure them of their addiction.

According to a report from Science Daily, psychiatrist Pinhas Dannon of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine wants to use the medication Naltrexone for gamblers. The drug has been used to treat alcoholics in the short term.

Dannon said the drug treatment should last for at least two years and be combined with other treatments, including therapy.

Dannon disagreed with earlier studies suggesting six months was enough.

"The initial results were too optimistic," Dannon said. His study shows 80% of gamblers who took the drugs for two years stayed "gamble-free" over a four-year period. By contrast, only 30% of gamblers who were treated for six months were gamble-free four years later.

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"Gambling addiction is a chronic disorder," Dannon said. "We need much more time to treat these patients. They require careful monitoring and holistic treatments over the longer term to avoid relapse."

Dannon presented his preliminary results in March at "EPA 2011: 19th European Congress of Psychiatry."