Researchers in Finland are looking into a nasal spray that could treat people with a gambling addiction.

Researchers at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) claim that the fast-acting spray can temporarily ease addiction by using Naxalone, an emergency treatment typically used for opiate overdoses.

The nasal spray contains a dopamine Inhibitor, which acts on the reward system of the brain.

“The spray goes to the brain in a few minutes so it’s very useful for a gambler… if you crave gambling, just take the spray,” said Hannu Alho, professor of addiction medicine at THL.

The nasal spray is set to undergo testing starting this week, with 130 volunteers to take part in the experiment over a period of three months.

“Gambling is a very impulsive behaviour – the need to gamble starts right away,” Alho said.

“For this reason, we are seeking a medication with a quick effect…the nasal spray acts in just a few minutes.”

Clearly, there is a biochemical mechanism for gambling addiction for some people, but probably not all.  Hopefully, this research will lead to a better understanding of brain functioning and gambling problems.