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Professor Suggests Drug Be Used To Help Treat Problem Gamblers

For decades, gambling addiction has fallen under different characterizations when it comes to helping those with gambling problems. There are those that feel that gambling addiction is a form of mental illness, and one of those who believe this theory is suggesting drugs to help problem gamblers.

Shane Thomas, Director of the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, has suggested that Naltrexone, should be used to help treat gamblers who have developed an addiction. According to The Australian, Thomas believes that the drug should be used with caution, but that it could help ease the addiction.

"What I would try to do is go for the conservative treatment first...for cognitive behavioral therapy and the other talking therapies," said Professor Thomas, when speaking to The Australian. "The only risk is that it won't work. There are no side effects from having to sit with a therapist for five hours."

This is not the first time that a professor or doctor has suggested drugs as a treatment method for gambling addiction, however Thomas is concerned that the Naltrexone could bring side effects that may not make it worth gamblers using the drug.

"...With drugs, particularly Naltrexone, there are fairly significant side effects associated with that. My personal opinion would be to try the conservative therapies first, and then try others, and Naltrexone might be one of those things."

Australian lawmakers have been debating all year as to how to proceed with stricter regulations on gambling that they hope will curtail the growing gambling addiction problem in the country. Pre-commitment programs have been the most pushed plan, with casinos lobbying to have the pre-commitment programs voluntary, instead of mandatory.

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