Search for people to take part in ketamine study for gambling addiction

Former gamblers warn addicts to seek help after possible spike in online betting due to lockdown

A new study is looking for participants to assess the effect of ketamine on gambling addictions.

Researchers at the University of Exeter are hoping to find out whether ketamine's influence on human memory can be used to break down the positive reinforcement associated with gambling addictions while also preventing the urge to gamble.

The study will be conducted by Celia Morgan, a leading professor of psychopharmacology whose research concentrates on examining both the benefits and side effects of recreational drugs on cognition, mental health and neurobiology.

Professor Morgan said: "The study is the first of its kind in the world. Gambling problems devastate lives and we urgently need new treatments.

"We feel privileged to be running this innovative and important study at University of Exeter and hope this may eventually lead to new treatment options for people struggling with gambling problems." 

Exeter University. Credit: PA Images.

Scientists are discovering more about memory mechanisms and how they help people respond to rewards like food, money, and drugs. They want to look at how these memories are important to those who use drugs and alcohol or engage in other unhealthy behaviours such as gambling.

The research study seeks to investigate people's memory of money and determine whether they can be altered by giving a low dose of ketamine, an anaesthetic drug that blocks a receptor involved in learning and memory.

Participants in the study must:

  • Be over 18 years old

  • Regularly gamble

  • Be fluent English speakers

The research study will involve participants undergoing a screening process prior to the experiment for eligibility reasons, this includes health-related questions and physical tests such as blood pressure measurements.

Volunteered participants will be taking part in the experiment for 30 days and their time will be compensated in vouchers.

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