Gambling disorder and its relationship with substance use disorders: implications for nosological revisions and treatment


Gambling disorder, recognized by the DSM-5 as a behavioral addiction, affects .4–1.6% of adults worldwide, and is highly comorbid with other mental health disorders, particularly substance use disorders (SUDs). Objectives To provide a concise primer on the relationship between gambling disorder and SUDs, focusing on phenomenology/clinical presentation, co-morbidity, familiality, cognition, neuroanatomy/neurochemistry, and treatment.

Selective review of the literature.

Scientific evidence shows that gambling and SUDs have consistently high rates of comorbidity, similar clinical presentations, and some genetic and physiological overlap. Several treatment approaches show promise for gambling disorder, some of which have previously been effective for SUDs. Scientific Significance It is hoped that recognition of overlap between gambling disorder and SUDs in terms of phenomenology and neurobiology will signal novel treatment approaches and raise the profile of this neglected condition.

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