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Pathological and problem gambling in substance use treatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number2
Volume46
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)98-105
Publication statusPublished
Early online date24/09/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Pathological and problem gambling refer to a class of disorders, including those meeting criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, and others comprising a spectrum of severity defined by significant personal and social harm, that may be common in substance use treatment but are frequently unrecognised. This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of available evidence indicating the prevalence of such gambling disorders in substance use treatment. It provides the best available estimates from studies of clinical samples of substance users, and suggests around 14% of patients that demonstrate comorbid pathological gambling. Around 23% suffer conditions along the broader spectrum of problem gambling. The review also highlights important limitations of existing evidence, including scant data on current versus lifetime comorbidity, as well as reliance on convenience samples and self-administered measures of gambling problems. Notwithstanding a concomitant need for caution when applying these results, the findings suggest a strong need to identify and manage gambling comorbidity in substance use treatment. Strategies for identification of gambling disorders, and therapies that may provide useful adjunctive interventions in substance use treatment are discussed.