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Neurodevelopment and Pharmacological Treatment

R. A. Chambers, Jon E. Grant, Marc N. Potenza

Despite the high prevalence rates of pathological gambling in adolescents, research on this disorder is still in its infancy. Our understanding of neurodevelopmental changes that occur during adolescence, and their influence on adolescent behaviors, is still at an early stage. Longitudinal studies involving neuro-imaging, genetics, and behavioral assessments should help advance our understanding of adolescents, and with this understanding should come advances in prevention and treatment strategies for problems frequently experienced by adolescents, including risk behaviors such as pathological gambling. Available data on pathological gambling in adults suggest several possible pharmacological interventions. At present, the best evidence suggests the use of SRIs, mood stabilizers, and naltrexone in treating pathological gambling in adults (Grant, Kim & Potenza, 2003). However, no data currently exist directly evaluating the efficacy of pharmacological treatments for pathological gambling in adolescents. Pharmacological treatment of other disorders in adolescents suggests that certain medications-SRIs, mood stabilizers, naltrexoneùappear safe and effective at certain doses and for certain indications. Although the data suggest potentially promising pharmacological treatments for adolescent pathological gambling, definitive treatment recommendations await completion of controlled treatment studies in this population. As the combination of behavioral and drug therapies has been demonstrated in other addictive disorders to be superior ...

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: book chapter •
published in
: 2005 •
: Springer •
is part of a publication
: Gambling problems in youth