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Exploring New Frontiers with Dr. Marc Potenza

On September 15th, we held our 35th Annual Statewide Conference. This year, the theme was “The New Frontier in Gambling Treatment.” At the event, researchers, therapists, and doctors presented their findings and innovations in the study of disordered gambling and gambling problem help.

At the CCGNJ, we work hard to stay on the cutting-edge of problem gambling research and therapy. Only four years have passed since the publication of the DSM-5, the first diagnostic system that classified gambling disorders in the same section as other substance-related and addictive disorders. In that vein, we asked Dr. Marc Potenza, MD, Ph.D., to deliver a keynote presentation based on his research: “Similarities and Differences in the Neurobiologies of Gambling and Substance-USe Disorders.”

Dr. Potenza’s research and contributions to the study of addiction – gambling and otherwise – have earned him numerous accolades and done much to further our understanding of how addiction changes the brain. As a director of numerous organizations that study impulse control and addictive disorders and a professor of Psychiatry, Child Study, and Neurobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, he serves as a pillar of the field.

In his presentation, Dr. Potenza illustrated some of his latest research, which compared and contrasted how substance use and disordered gambling change brain chemistry and activity. More and more, researchers discover that behavioral disorders like problem gambling share many more qualities with problematic substance use than previously thought. Dr. Potenza’s work supports this.

Through scans of brain activity and analysis of neurotransmitters, he determined that both forms of addiction have similar effects on the brain. He also found that genetics play an important role in an individual’s propensity to any kind of impulsivity. Although we have much more learning to do, he ended the presentation by highlighting the advancements we have made in our understanding and suggesting potentially fruitful directions that further research could take.

From problem sports betting in Monmouth, NJ, to disordered casino gambling in Atlantic City and beyond, the CCGNJ strives to educate the public and treat those struggling with addiction using the latest and most effective research in the field. To learn more about us or to reach out for support, call us at our hotline, 1-800-GAMBLER. The line remains available 24/7 and inquiries are completely confidential. Those interested can also visit us at our website, https://800gambler.org/.