Gambling addiction is a serious problem in the US. It’s estimated that 1% of the population has a severe gambling addiction and 10 million people have some sort of gambling addiction. Even a more significant number (23 million) go into debt due to gambling.
Even celebrities and athletes, including Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, have admitted to having gambling problems.
Awakn Life Sciences Corp., a biotechnology company that makes medications for all types of mental disorders, is starting a study to determine if ketamine can be used as a medication for gambling addiction.
The study will be led by Celia Morgan, Ph.D., professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter in the UK. The professor is a respected expert in the use of ketamine for therapeutic purposes.
The study aims to see if ketamine can change the reward memories associated with gambling. Some examples include the urge to gamble and “superstitious thinking” that many gamblers have.
The study is part of Awakn’s plan to create more effective medicine and therapy for substance and behavioral addiction.
Substance addiction affects 15%–20% of the entire global population, and behavioral addiction accounts for another 27% of the people in the US alone.
In addition to this study, Awakn’s addiction medicine plan includes some other areas:
- Ten patent filings regarding chemical series and clinical targets
- Phase II ab trial of Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
- Phase II b trial of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for AUD
- A pre-clinical drug discovery program in two stages that should help develop the next generation of addiction-treatment medications
While it’s estimated that 10 million people in the US have some sort of gambling addiction, the number could be even higher. According to some reports, only 2%–3% of addicts self-report.
The ketamine study for gambling addiction is the first step in the company’s goal to help treat people who suffer from gambling.