Comorbid gambling in persons suffering from alcohol dependence

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Gambling has been a part of human behaviour since prehistory. Past global studies show that rates of pathologic gambling are 4 to 10 times higher for substance abusers than for the general population. Alcohol dependence is also more common among parents of pathologic gamblers. Studies from India have been very few on this subject.

OBJECTIVES
The objectives were to analyse the prevalence of gambling behaviour in alcohol dependent individuals, to assess whether alcohol influence had effect on gambling behaviour, to analyse if gambling behaviour was associated with personality traits, to explore the possibility whether alcohol use & gambling behaviour in parents had influence on the gamblers.

METHODS
A sample of 100 consecutive male patients attending de-addiction OPD of a Government Tertiary Care Hospital in Chennai was selected. Those who had a diagnosis of alcohol dependence were screened for gambling and assessed using the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) and Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire. History of gambling behaviour and alcohol use in parents were correlated.

RESULTS
A high incidence of gambling related problems in alcohol dependent individuals was found. Among them, 24% had gambling related problems, of which 11% amounted to pathologic gambling. Age, Marital status, Residential locality, Economic status, Educational levels, or being under the influence of alcohol did not correlate with the gambling behaviour. Extrovert personality, alcohol dependence in father, and family history of gambling were more common in problem/pathologic gamblers.

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