Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 15, No 2 (2019)

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Integrating Psilocybin and Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy for Pathological Gambling Treatment: A New Perspective

Tania Re, Gabriele Penazzi, Nicola Luigi Brigazzi, Hicham Khabbache, Bruno Neri, Mário Simões, Riccardo Zerbetto, Sebastiano Raymondo, Fabio Firenzuoli

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.

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