Gambling Addiction natural therapy, use of supplements and vitamins, problem treatment
August 20 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Approximately 90 percent of American adults report having gambled at some point in their lives, and about 50 percent say they've gambled at least once in the past year. Gambling results in hundreds of billions of dollars in annual wagers and, for some people, a big problem with addiction. Most people who wager don't have an addiction problem. But some people an estimated 2 million American adults become compulsive gamblers at some point in their lifetimes. People in this group lose control of their betting, often with serious consequences.

Drugs, medications that cause it or aggravate the addiction
Dopamine agonist medications used for Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome may have serious side effects such as impulse control disorders including pathological gambling, compulsive eating, compulsive shopping.

Drugs commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease may raise the risk of so-called impulse control disorders. These disorders include compulsive gambling, compulsive shopping and/or hypersexuality. That increased risk was seen in a fresh review of a decade's worth of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) records in 2014."What we have here is a striking example of a major problem in drug safety," said study author Thomas Moore, a senior scientist with the Institute of Safe Medication Practices and a lecturer in epidemiology and biostatistics at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. "And that is the issue of how drugs can sometimes provoke psychiatric side effects that actually make people behave in extremely destructive and abnormal ways." Moore and his colleagues reported their findings online Oct. 20 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. These medicines are part of a powerful and effective class of drugs known as dopamine receptor agonists. These medications work by mimicking the activity of the brain chemical dopamine.

Drug treatment for gambling addiction
The impulse control disorder drug nalmefene, which has previously been shown to be effective for alcohol dependence, may also be effective for pathological or compulsive gambling. Compulsive gambling is a disabling disorder experienced by approximately 1 percent to 2 percent of adults and for which there are few treatments. Nalmefene, a long-acting opioid antagonist drug may offer slight help but side effects may be a problem. The most common adverse events included nausea, dizziness and insomnia.

Natural treatment to stop gambling
It is worthwhile to consider the natural supplements 5-HTP or tryptophan. These nutrients convert into serotonin which is involved in impulse control. See also alcohol addiction treatment.

SAM-e for gambling addiction?
We received this email in 2008
I have been taking SAM-e pills for approximately three weeks and have had no urges to gamble or drink alcohol. I am a recovering compulsive gambler and alcoholic and have had recent bouts with depression. My counselor thought that giving SAM-e pills a try would help, as she found it to help other gamblers and alcoholics such as myself. It is a blessing for me, as I can focus more clearly on rational thinking day to day instead of the delusional thoughts that compulsive gambling had led me to believe. I will not admit that I am cured but the relief I am experiencing has been amazing to say the least! My dosage of SAM-e was 400mg for the first week, but I have cut back to 200 mg at the current time, on the suggestion of my counselor, when I told her I literally felt "drugged" during the course of daily activities. I was able to focus on tasks at hand without being sidetracked by thoughts of gambling. It was like my brain had been filled with a euphoric high, much like the times when I would gamble at the race track. I would become very fatigued after dinner around 6:30 pm and sometimes fall asleep and not wake up until my wife came to bed. I also had a "freeze frame" type of vision a couple times while driving when looking left to right. Since cutting back on the dosage, I have not experienced either of these effects. I have also had a little more anxiety than normal (this was an everyday occurrence before starting the medication) as well as some increased irritability. These effects still continue. For the most part, as I have expressed, the desire to gamble or drink alcohol has been minimal. I am able to focus on important aspects in life again and the reality of the negative effects of gambling on my relationships and financial future is finally hitting home. Thank you for your time and interest, I hope I can be of help to others.

Which supplements would work well for any addiction related disorders?
   This is too broad a question since there are a number of different types of addictions and some may be caused by anxiety, depression, or other factors.