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Link Between Gambling Addiction and Mental Disorders

by | Addiction, Conditions and Disorders, Latest News

Home Addiction Link Between Gambling Addiction and Mental Disorders

roulette table gabling addiction
A recent study conducted in Hong Kong found that over 60 percent of pathological gamblers also suffer from at least one type of mental disorder such as anxiety and/or depression. The study was conducted via a combined effort by Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, the Department of Applied Social Science of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the Divisions of Addictions affiliated to Harvard Medical School. Over the course of the 9-month study, the groups collected information from 201 pathological gamblers who sought help from social service organizations in Honk Kong. The results of the study showed that 63.7 percent of the subjects were diagnosed as having at least one type of mental disorder. In addition, results showed that 30.8 percent suffered from substance abuse disorder while 29.4 percent has mood disorders such as anxiety or depression. In addition to these findings, researchers also notesd that pathological gamblers diagnosed with mental disorders are at a higher risk of separation from loved ones and a higher risk of experiencing a job lay-off.
Based on the results of the study, leader Daniel Shek Tan-lei from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, suggests an integrated approach as a method of helping pathological gamblers. “Mental health has long been neglected, but pathological gambling cannot be taken at face value; it is intertwined with psychiatric problems which must be dealt with by professionals,” says Professor Shek. According to Professor Shek, the Hospital Authority now has a substance abuse center that offers not only medical treatment, but psychiatric treatment as well. When people are treated for not only their gambling problem but their underlying psychiatric problems as well, the outcome is more effective.
Trying to get help for an addiction through the public health system can be very difficult. Many of the staff members often work for very little wage or on a volunteer basis. However, at Even Center, the gambler recovery unit under Tung Wah Group Hospitals, professionals have been supporting pathological gamblers with a team of social workers, debt councilors and clinical psychologists for years. Of the 2,700 cases the group has followed up on, 80% are no longer suffering from their addiction to gambling following treatment at the gambler recovery unit. Although the public health system is often criticized here in America, any person suffering from addiction should have an opportunity to be treated and get their life back in order. The Even Center offers a good place to start.