Abstract and Keywords
As gambling becomes more popular, more people will be exposed to it; thus, the prevalence of and demand for gambling-related treatments are expected to increase. Pathological gambling (PG) is the most severe level of gambling compromise, characterized by unrestrained gambling to the point of financial and psychosocial harm. Classified among the impulse control disorders, PG resembles other addictive disorders. A host of scales for screening and diagnosing PG are available for both the specialist and the general practitioner. The diagnosis of PG, like that of other addictions, is based upon signs of loss of control over the target behavior (i.e., gambling), dose escalation (increasing amounts wagered to get the same excitement as in previous bets), withdrawal-like symptoms, psychosocial harm, persistent desire, and persistent betting despite the negative consequences. Its treatment requires thorough assessment of psychiatric related conditions, motivational intervention, gambling-focused psychotherapy, relapse prevention, and support for maintenance of treatment gains. Psychopharmacological tools to treat craving and gambling recurrence are an incipient but promising field.
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