The evidence base supporting the subtyping of gamblers in treatment

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Recent reviews found problem gamblers are heterogeneous and recommended subtyping gamblers in treatment studies. OBJECTIVE Review factors (stage of change, preferred gambling activity, co-occurring disorder, and temporal instability of symptoms) for subtyping by evaluating the evidence for their effects on gambling treatment. METHODS Literature review, evidence grading. RESULTS Evidence is limited that any of the reviewed factors affects gambling treatment. Substantial evidence from prospective studies and other evidence from cross-sectional studies and the strong placebo response among pathological gamblers support the temporal instability of gambling symptoms. CONCLUSIONS Multiple studies are needed to develop the evidence base needed to subtype gamblers in treatment. Changes in the diagnostic criteria of pathological gambling may be necessary, especially to specify the persistence of gambling-related symptoms.

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