Problem gambling in bipolar disorder: Results from the Canadian Community Health Survey


Objective: This investigation was undertaken to explore the prevalence and associated features of problem gambling amongst individuals with bipolar I disorder. Methods: The data for this analysis were procured from the Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-being (CCHS 1.2) conducted by Statistics Canada. Individuals screening positive for a lifetime (WorldMentalHealth- Composite International Diagnostic Interview)WMH-CIDI-defined manic episode (i.e. bipolar I disorder) or depressive episode (i.e. major depressive disorder) and current (i.e. past 12-month) problem gambling were compared to the general population without these disorders. Past year problem gambling was operationalized with the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI). Results: The sample consisted of 36,984 individuals (>=15 years old); the weighted prevalence of problem gambling was significantly higher (11.6%) amongst the population with bipolar disorder as compared to the general population (3.8%, pb0.001) and those with major depressive disorder (4.9%, pb0.01). Compared to those without bipolar disorder, the odds of problem gambling for bipolar individuals were over twice as high (OR=2.3; 95% CI 1.4–3.9), even when controlling for potential confounders. Males also had higher odds of problem gambling (OR=1.7; 95% CI 1.4–2.2), as did individuals without postsecondary education (OR=1.5; 95% CI 1.1–1.9). Persons who were married/cohabiting had lowered odds of problem gambling, compared with those who were unmarried (OR=0.6; 95% CI 0.5–0.8). Comorbid alcohol dependence (OR=3.0; 95% CI 2.1–4.5) and illicit drug dependence (OR=2.8; 95% CI 1.1–6.9) each conferred an increased risk for problem gambling. Physical activity level (moderate to active) was associated with a decreased risk for problem gambling (OR=0.7; 95% CI 0.6–0.9). Conclusions: Individuals with bipolar I disorder are differentially affected by problem gambling. Opportunistic screening for problem gambling is warranted, particularly in persons with comorbid alcohol or substance dependence.

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