Common Characteristics With Other Addictive Disorders

The addiction model conceptualizes pathological gambling as a disease characterized by a dependence on what gamblers refer to as ''being in action.'' The term describes their aroused euphoric state—experienced while gambling. Pathological gamblers who are also users of other drugs compare being in action to the ''high'' derived from COCAINE or other STIMULANTS. The addiction model is also supported by the many similarities between pathological gambling and substance dependence in risk factors, symptoms, the course of the disease, the nature of relapse triggers, treatment goals, and the process of recovery. A core symptom for both types of disorder is a loss of control over the substance use or gambling behavior. There is also an important comorbidity between the various addictive disorders. For example, a 1986 study of 458 adult inpatients admitted for alcohol and other drug (AOD) dependence to South Oaks Hospital in New York found that 9 percent satisfied diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling and an additional 10 percent had some gambling problems. These rates are many times higher than are found among the general public. In a parallel study of 100 younger AOD inpatients (average age 17), 14 percent met criteria for pathological gambling and an additional 14 percent had some gambling problems. In a later study of cocaine-dependent outpatients, Dr. Bruce Rounsaville at Yale University found pathological gambling in 19 percent of the male and 5.5 percent of the female subjects. Failure to recognize and address gambling problems during treatment for alcohol or other drug dependence often leads to relapse to substance use in a gambling situation. Less frequently, the result is a switch of addictions from alcohol or another drug to gambling.

Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction

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