Gambling disorder in the DSM-5: Opportunities to improve diagnosis and treatment especially in substance use and homeless populations


Purpose of review
This paper reviews recent research related to the revisions of the gambling disorder (GD) criteria, including the elimination of the illegal acts criterion and the lowered diagnostic threshold.

Recent findings
Studies suggest that the removal of the illegal acts criterion has little impact in terms of prevalence or loss of diagnostic status among gamblers, especially when considered in combination with the lowered diagnostic threshold. Overall, prevalence rates will increase modestly with the lowered threshold in community samples of gamblers. However, increases in GD prevalence rates may be more notable in settings that serve individuals at higher risk for gambling problems (e.g., substance abuse treatment clinics and homeless persons).

Changes to the GD diagnostic criteria may lead to increased recognition of gambling problems, particularly in settings that serve high-risk populations. These changes also may necessitate the training of more clinicians in the delivery of efficacious gambling treatments.

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