Desensitization of triggers and urge reprocessing for pathological gambling: A case series

Abstract

This case series introduces the desensitization of triggers and urge reprocessing (DeTUR), as a promising adjunctive therapy in addition to comprehensive treatment package for pathological gambling. This addiction protocol of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing was delivered to four male inpatients admitted to a 10-week inpatient program for pathological gambling. The therapist gave three 60-min weekly sessions of the DeTUR using bilateral stimulation (horizontal eye movements or alternative tactile stimuli) focusing on the hierarchy of triggering situations and the urge to initiate gambling behaviors. After treatment, self-reported gambling symptoms, depression, anxiety, and impulsiveness were all improved, and all the participants reported satisfaction with the therapy. They were followed up for 6 months and all maintained their abstinence from gambling and their symptomatic improvements. Given the efficiency (i.e., brevity and efficacy) of the treatment, a controlled study to confirm the effects of the DeTUR on pathological gambling would be justified.

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