Still not on the radar: Adolescent risk and gambling, revisited


This issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health explores the question of whether excessive, or problem, gaming can be conceptualized as a behavioral addiction similar to pathological gambling. It was noted that excessive gaming and pathological gambling share certain commonalities, such as craving, loss of control, and withdrawal symptoms. A researcher investigates whether similar cognitive-emotional processes-manifested in attentional bias and response inhibition tasks-under lie problem gaming among male adolescents, in a manner similar to processes identified among pathological gamblers and among substance abusers more generally. Most significantly, as we move closer to publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5), the identification of distinct behavioral patterns among problem gamers, similar to those of pathological gamblers, contributes to a larger debate about where behavioral addictions fit within the psychiatric taxonomy of mental disorders. The question is what governments and operators can, and will, do to create a safety net for these vulnerable citizens, to minimize the possibility of an increase in the number of problem gamblers, to provide treatment for those afflicted, and to ensure that research is undertaken to understand the impacts of online gambling and gaming on youth and on the broader society.

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