A scoping review of co-morbidity in individuals with disordered gambling

Abstract

Individuals with disordered gambling often report at least one other lifetime psychiatric diagnosis. Although prevalence rates vary, there is substantial evidence for co-morbidity being the rule rather than the exception. Despite this known association, there has not been a recent comprehensive review of co-morbidity in disordered gambling other than prevalence surveys.

The goal of this study was to broadly summarize and review the current literature on the extent, range and nature of disordered gambling co-morbidity. Following an initial search and screening of 6 databases, 251 articles were included in the final synthesis and evaluation.

The main findings showed that few studies examine the mechanisms of co-morbidity in gambling beyond prevalence rates; few studies report on temporal sequencing of gambling and co-morbid disorders; there is a lack of treatment evaluation studies designed specifically for dual-diagnosis individuals; there is a need for system-level initiatives to address co-morbidity at the policy level; and the substance use literature may act as a useful model for guiding future gambling research on co-morbidity.

The results suggest that despite a reasonable amount of published research on co-morbidity in disordered gambling, most study conclusions relegate to acknowledgements of high co-occurrence between disorders without follow-up.

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