Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

Pathological gambling: review of recent data

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2011; 21: -
Read: 560 Published: 23 March 2021

Gambling, which could also be defined as risking one's chances for a possible outcome, is a cultural phenomenon as old as humanity. While gambling is a form of entertainment without any drawbacks for the great majority, pathological gambling develops in a small minority. The prevalence (0.2%- 5.3%) in the adult population is gradually increasing due to the ease of accessibility such as Internet gambling. This increase and the accessibility of gambling becoming easier, have led to some sociodemographic changes in the population who have trouble with gambling. Recent studies have shown pathological gambling to be higher in the psychiatric patient population compared to the normal population (with no assigned psychiatric diagnosis) and that it is necessary to be included as part of the questioning in a psychiatric evaluation.

Some drugs once thought to be a new hope in the pharmacological treatment of pathological gambling, have been proven ineffective in recent randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled studies. Current studies are testing GABAergic and antiglutamatergic drugs, that are thought to be effective in chemical and behavioral addictions, in the treatment of pathological gambling.

Two large meta-analysis studies have reported that non-pharmacological therapy approaches are more effective in the treatment of pathological gambling. Behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and short, motivational, individualized approaches are demonstrated to be effective. Although it is suggested that behaviorial therapy + cognitive behavioral therapy and short, motivational, and individualized approaches are equally effective, combining the two may improve the efficacy of the treatment. This presentation aims to describe pathological gambling accompanied by contemporary information with respect to treatment.

EISSN 2475-0581