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(395 results for Treatment For Gambling Disorder)

Treatment For Gambling Disorder

An estimated 2 million (1%) of U.S. adults meet the diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder in a given year. An additional 4 to 6 million (2% to 3%) are considered problem gamblers in that they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for the full-blown disorder, but exhibit one of more of the criteria and experience problems due to gambling behavior. People addicted to gambling often score high on tests measuring impulsivity, novelty seeking, compulsivity and both positive and negative urgency traits. As many as 50% of pathological gamblers have co-occurring mental health symptoms such as depression or anxiety disorder. For some people, gambling may be an attempt to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, while for others, compulsive gambling can lead to anxiety and depression as a result of associated problems caused by the behavior (e.g. financial, work and relationships).

Diagnosis Challenges

Currently, more than 20 different screening tools exist, however, screening to analyze the level and severity of gambling problems is not done on a routine basis. Furthermore, the significant stigma associated with gambling addiction prevents people from seeking treatment. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association, the prior term pathological gambling was renamed gambling disorder. Pathological gambling was listed under Impulse-Control Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified, whereas gambling disorder is categorized under Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders. Reclassification may improve treatment coverage, diagnostic accuracy and screening efforts.

Treatment Approaches

A variety of treatment modalities have been researched and found to be useful in treating gambling problems, however, one is not significantly more effective than another. These include the following:

Behavioral Therapy: Focuses on changing behaviors by reinforcing desired patterns and modifying gambling-related attitudes and behaviors. Clients learn how to identify gambling triggers and are encouraged to choose healthier activities to replace gambling.

Cognitive Therapy: Educates clients about the randomness of gambling, increases awareness of distorted thinking, helps them doubt irrational cognitions and restructure thoughts.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT for gambling disorder typically involves identifying and changing cognitive distortions about gambling, reinforcing non-gambling behaviors and recognizing positive and negative consequences. It typically incorporates preventive measures such as learning to identify and avoid risky situations that can trigger feelings or thoughts leading to gambling relapse.

Motivational interviewing: Also known as motivational enhancement, this is client-centered counseling for eliciting behavioral changes by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence.

Self-Help: Minimally invasive self-directed resources can be effective in remediating gambling-related problems in motivated gamblers who do not engage in formal treatment.

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More on Treatment For Gambling Disorder

An estimated 2 million (1%) of U.S. adults meet the diagnostic criteria for gambling disorder in a given year. An additional 4 to 6 million (2% to 3%) are considered problem gamblers in that they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for the full-blown disorder, but exhibit one of more of the criteria and experience problems due to gambling behavior. People addicted to gambling often score high on tests measuring impulsivity, novelty seeking, compulsivity and both positive and negative urgency traits. As many as 50% of pathological gamblers have co-occurring mental health symptoms such as depression or anxiety disorder. For some people, gambling may be an attempt to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, while for others, compulsive gambling can lead to anxiety and depression as a result of associated problems caused by the behavior (e.g. financial, work and relationships).

Diagnosis Challenges

Currently, more than 20 different screening tools exist, however, screening to analyze the level and severity of gambling problems is not done on a routine basis. Furthermore, the significant stigma associated with gambling addiction prevents people from seeking treatment. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association, the prior term pathological gambling was renamed gambling disorder. Pathological gambling was listed under Impulse-Control Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified, whereas gambling disorder is categorized under Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders. Reclassification may improve treatment coverage, diagnostic accuracy and screening efforts.

Treatment Approaches

A variety of treatment modalities have been researched and found to be useful in treating gambling problems, however, one is not significantly more effective than another. These include the following:

Behavioral Therapy: Focuses on changing behaviors by reinforcing desired patterns and modifying gambling-related attitudes and behaviors. Clients learn how to identify gambling triggers and are encouraged to choose healthier activities to replace gambling.

Cognitive Therapy: Educates clients about the randomness of gambling, increases awareness of distorted thinking, helps them doubt irrational cognitions and restructure thoughts.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT for gambling disorder typically involves identifying and changing cognitive distortions about gambling, reinforcing non-gambling behaviors and recognizing positive and negative consequences. It typically incorporates preventive measures such as learning to identify and avoid risky situations that can trigger feelings or thoughts leading to gambling relapse.

Motivational interviewing: Also known as motivational enhancement, this is client-centered counseling for eliciting behavioral changes by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence.

Self-Help: Minimally invasive self-directed resources can be effective in remediating gambling-related problems in motivated gamblers who do not engage in formal treatment.

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