LaPlante et al report that, from the four studies that included level 3 gamblers (ie, persons with PG), most gamblers improved, and moved to a lower level, and that rates of classification improvement were “at least significantly greater than 29%.” Results were similar for level 2 (ie, “at-risk”) gamblers. Those who were level 0 to 1 gamblers at baseline were unlikely to progress to a higher (ie, more severe) level of gambling behavior, and with one exception,91 the studies suggested
that few level 2 gamblers improved by moving Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to level 1. La Plante et al86 conclude that these studies challenge the notion that PG is intractable, and suggest that many gamblers spontaneously improve, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical as do many substance addicted persons. The findings suggest that those who do not gamble or gamble without problems tend to remain problemfree; those with disordered gambling move from one level to another, though the general direction is toward improved classification. Family history data suggests that PG, mood disorders, and substance-use disorders are more prevalent among the relatives of persons with PG than in the general population.92,93 Twin studies also suggest that gambling has a heritable component.94 Functional neuroimaging studies suggest Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical that among persons with PG, gambling cues elicit gambling urges and a temporally dynamic pattern
of brain activity changes in frontal, paralimbic, and limbic brain structures, suggesting to some extent that gambling may represent
dysfunctional frontolimbic activity95 Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical There is little consensus about the appropriate inhibitors purchase treatment of PG. Few persons with PG seek treatment,96 and until recently the treatment mainstay appeared to be participation in Gamblers Anonymous (GA), a 12-step program patterned after Alcoholics Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Anonymous. Attendance at GA is free and chapters are available throughout the US, but follow-through is poor and success rates disappointing.97 Inpatient treatment and rehabilitation programs similar to those for substance-use disorders have been developed, and are helpful to some98,99 Still, these programs are unavailable to most persons with PG because of geography or lack of access (ie, insurance/financial resources). More recently, CBT and motivational interviewing have been become established treatment methods.100 Nature Methods Self-exclusion programs have also gained acceptance and appear to benefit selected patients.101 While rules vary, they generally involve voluntary self-exclusion from casinos for a period of time at the risk of being arrested for trespassing. Medication treatment studies have gained momentum, but their results are inconsistent. Briefly, the opioid antagonists naltrexone and nalmefene were superior to placebo in randomized controlled trials (RCTs)102,103 but controlled trials of paroxetine and bupropion were negative.