Integrating psilocybin and existential-humanistic psychotherapy for pathological gambling treatment: a new perspective [open-access article].

Abstract: In the last years, the debate on the use of psychedelics in psychotherapeutic settings has intensified, attracting a lot of interest and attention from the scholarly community as well as from clinicians and paving the way for new therapeutic paradigms. Besides classical addictions and addictive behaviors, there exist forms of addictions, the so-called new addictions or behavioral addictions, whose characterization is not linked so much to substances but to widespread and socially accepted activities such as games, shopping, internet use, sex, love relationships, work and exercises, physical activities or sports.
Among the various addictions, the gambling disorder is the first form of behavioral addictions officially recognized by the DSM-V, in accordance with a wealth of neurobiological and clinical data showing the activation in patients of the gratification systems (especially dopamine).
Orthos, as intensive residential intervention program envisaging a non-moralistic approach to gambling, can be combined with the administration of psilocybin, a substance characterized by a very low potential for abuse, modulating brain areas and networks affected by addictive behaviors. Therefore, our proposal would be to start treating behavioral addictions combining psilocybin administration with existential-humanistic psychotherapy, like Orthos. Article available online

Reference: Raymondo, S., & Firenzuoli, F. (2019). Integrating psilocybin and existential-humanistic psychotherapy for pathological gambling treatment: a new perspective. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 15(1), 228–236.


“Toward a Sociological Analysis of Pathological Gambling” : Journal of Sociology and Social Work

Full text available at link.

The academic study of gambling began in the United States in the 1950s with an emphasis on the psychoanalytical approach – gambling was considered a mental illness, a compulsion. In the 960s and 1970s, sociologists began to look at gambling as a social problem, but this approach did not gain much traction in changing the psychoanalytical view of gambling’s acceptance by the mental health community as well as by the general public. In the ensuing decades, the study of gambling behavior has shifted to a genetic approach, with genes being held responsible for what is now referred to as pathological gambling (PG). This change is reflected in the most recent iteration of the American Psychiatric Association’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS-5), which places PG within the category of “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.” In this article, an alternative viewing of gambling is offered, one that sees gambling as more of a cultural phenomenon, a result of capitalism’s emphasis on competition, and blaming the victim for not succeeding, than as an addiction.

Source: Scimecca, J. A. (2015). Toward a Sociological Analysis of Pathological Gambling. Journal of Sociology and Social Work, 3(1).