Barriers in access to the treatment for people with gambling disorders: Are they different from those experienced by people with alcohol and/or drug dependence?

Abstract

A prevalence of gambling disorders is diversified depending on the region of the world. Almost three quarters of pathological gamblers had never sought a professional treatment as well as an assistance in self-help groups. Reasons why they do not initiate a treatment are complex. The aim of the article is to compare barriers to the treatment for people with gambling disorders found in presented study and barriers to alcohol and drug treatment identified in the available literature. The semi structured interviews were applied and conducted with people with gambling disorders, social workers, therapists employed in the addiction treatment facilities, General Practitioners and psychiatrists. Selection of the respondents was based on purposive sampling. In total, 90 interviews were completed. Respondents identified individual barriers as well as structural ones. Individual barriers include internal resistance and a fear of the treatment. In turn structural barriers apply to the organization of the therapy, infrastructure, personnel, and the therapeutic program. A comparison of barriers experienced by people with gambling disorders and substance use disorders showed that they are largely similar, but people with gambling disorders also experience specific barriers. Empirical studies focused specifically on treatment needs of people experiencing gambling disorders may improve an offer of help for them. More adequate treatment options could contribute to the increasing in the number of people who start the treatment. It can result in improving their quality of life and may have positive impact on public health.

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