Online self-guided interventions for the treatment of problem gambling

Abstract

A minority of problem gamblers access formal treatment. Factors contributing to this low service utilization rate include geographical and time constraints, a desire to self-manage problems, shame, denial and concerns over privacy/confidentiality. The Internet is an effective medium for the delivery of health-related information, self-assessment, counselling, peer-based support and other therapeutic interventions. Consequently, online self-help programs should be offered as an alternative means to access treatment for gamblers reluctant to pursue traditional options. Benefits of the Internet include its capacity to provide a systematic delivery of cognitive-behavioural therapies, practical visual demonstrations of probabilities correcting erroneous beliefs, accessibility, convenience, cost-effectiveness, anonymity and privacy. We conducted a review of the literature to outline the advantages and current status of self-guided online interventions for gambling-related problem. Although this is a new field, empirical evidence indicates that online self-guided interventions are efficacious and represent an important treatment adjunct for individuals with gambling-related problems. A minority of problem gamblers access formal treatment. Factors contributing to this low service utilization rate include geographical and time constraints, a desire to self-manage problems, shame, denial and concerns over privacy/confidentiality. The Internet is an effective medium for the delivery of health-related information, self-assessment, counselling, peer-based support and other therapeutic interventions. Consequently, online self-help programs should be offered as an alternative means to access treatment for gamblers reluctant to pursue traditional options. Benefits of the Internet include its capacity to provide a systematic delivery of cognitive-behavioural therapies, practical visual demonstrations of probabilities correcting erroneous beliefs, accessibility, convenience, cost-effectiveness, anonymity and privacy. We conducted a review of the literature to outline the advantages and current status of self-guided online interventions for gambling-related problem. Although this is a new field, empirical evidence indicates that online self-guided interventions are efficacious and represent an important treatment adjunct for individuals with gambling-related problems.

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