Co-occurring Disordered Gambling Among Treatment-Seekers at a Community Outpatient Addiction Clinic

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Parallel to the ongoing expansion of legalized gambling activities is a growing concern about rising occurrence of uncontrollable gambling. People with preexisting gambling and/or chemical addictions may be particularly vulnerable, but the extent of such co-occurring conditions and their demographic and clinical characteristics have not been sufficiently elucidated. To that end, the present study attempted to both, quantify the presence and to characterize co-occurring pathological or problem gambling (ie, respectively, at least 1- or at least 5 pathological gambling criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision) among treatment-seeking patients at a community outpatient addiction program.


The patients were assessed with the South Oaks Gambling Screen and their charts were reviewed for the extraction of demographic and clinical information according to a predetermined template. Data from 183 subjects withstood quality control procedures and were included.


The prevalence rates of co-occurring problem- (18.6%) and pathological (10.9%) gambling were strikingly higher than those found in the general population (2% and 0.5%, respectively). No increase in the clinical severity indices was observed across the gambling groups.


Our data replicate those of prior studies reporting heightened prevalence of problematic gambling in patients with substance use disorders and extend the prior findings by including a subject population of treatment-seekers. In the era of the gambling industry growth, these results call for creation and/or adjustment of clinical addiction services to meet emerging preventive and therapeutic needs.

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