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April 1988

Pathological Gambling: A Psychobiological Study

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, DICBR, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md (Drs Roy, Adinoff, Lamparski, and Linnoila and Ms Roehrich); Taylor Manor Hospital, Ellicott City, Md (Dr Custer); the National Center for Pathological Gambling, Baltimore (Dr Lorenz); and Fidia Georgetown Institute for the Neurosciences, Washington, DC (Drs Barbaccia, Costa, and Guidotti).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(4):369-373. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800280085011

• We investigated psychobiological substrates of pathological gambling by measuring levels of norepinephrine, monoamine metabolites, and peptides in cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, and urine. Pathological gamblers had a significantly higher centrally produced fraction of cerebrospinal fluid levels of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol as well as significantly greater urinary outputs of norepinephrine than controls. These results suggest that pathological gamblers may have a functional disturbance of the noradrenergic system. This system has been postulated to underlie sensation-seeking behaviors, aspects of which are thought to be abnormal among pathological gamblers.

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