Tackling gambling addiction has been a major problem for both scientists and ordinary people who are struggling with it. There are numerous ways in which you can control your addiction, including setting limits, talking with professionals, going to rehab, and so on. However, most of these techniques are unsuccessful because they require determination of the addict.
Can the solution to the problem of gambling addiction be as easy as using a nasal spray? Researchers from Finland believe that it is possible and are currently running tests in order to prove it. So far, the tests have been encouraging, and we might be at the beginning of a huge breakthrough.
How Does This Nasal Spray Work?
The nasal spray that is supposed to help gambling addicts works fast and needs to be applied at the time of temptation. The individual will use this spray when they feel the urge to gamble, which is going to help them stop feeling this urge.
The effects of the spray are based on a chemical known as Naloxone that blocks the production of dopamine. The reason why we feel the urge to do certain addictive things, such as gambling, smoking, gaming, or drinking, is because we are looking for a dopamine hit. Dopamine is connected to the feeling of pleasure and is the key factor in addictive behaviors. Therefore, by eliminating dopamine, we can take all the pleasure out of gambling.
Naloxone is often used as an emergency treatment in cases where individuals have overdosed with drugs such as cocaine, heroin, morphine, opium, and so on. Its most important feature is that it starts working several minutes after application. Therefore, you can use it even if you find yourself in front of a slot machine or a roulette table, ready to place a bet.
The Nasal Spray Study Conducted in Finland
A study which aims to prove the beneficial effects of this nasal spray is being conducted in Helsinki, Finland. It involves 130 volunteers who will receive treatment for a period of three months.
Half of the subjects will receive the real nasal spray, and the other half will receive a placebo. This is the first study of this kind in the world, as no other study has used Naloxone in the form of a nasal spray.
Several previously conducted studies on the effects of Naloxone on gambling addiction gave positive results. However, these results were limited by the fact that Naloxone was administered in the form of tablets. Tablets have a delay and take much longer to reach the brain, which affects the efficacy of the treatment. It is expected that this study will yield much better results, as its effects will be visible just 2–3 minutes after application.
The Importance of Finding an Aid
Finding a way to effectively help people struggling with a gambling addiction is of utmost importance. Data shows that there is global gambling addiction pandemic going on, and people are not able to deal with it on their own.
For example, in Finland, where this nasal spray is being developed, 2.7% of citizens aged 15–74 are estimated to be suffering from some form of gambling addiction. In the UK, data shows that more than 2 million people are addicted to gambling or are on the way to becoming gambling addicts.
The statistics are not much better in the US, where a report discovered that around 15 million Americans are at risk of suffering from a gambling addiction in the following years.