Self-help not effective for problem gamblers

(Medical Xpress) -- Australia's first guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of problem gamblers highlight the importance of professional help for the thousands of Australians who struggle to control their gambling.

State Minister for Gaming, Michael O'Brien will launch the Guideline for Screening, Assessment and Treatment of in Problem Gamblingon Friday as part of the National Association of Gambling Studies annual conference.

The guide was developed by the Research and Treatment Centre (PGRTC), a collaboration between Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government. It was based on a review of peer-reviewed research.

Recommendations emphasise the effectiveness of psychological interventions delivered by qualified health practitioners, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), rather than self-help treatments. 

Other recommended treatments include motivational interviewing, group therapies and the use of anti-addiction drug Naltrexone in some circumstances. The guidelines note that antidepressant medications should not be expected to reduce gambling severity in people with gambling problems alone.

Director of the PGRTC, Monash University's Professor Shane Thomas said the guide was developed for problem gambling services, practitioners and policy-makers.

"It's the first comprehensive, evidence-based guide for tackling problem gambling," Professor Thomas said.

"We expect the guidelines to consolidate current practices. CBT, the most highly recommended intervention, is already widely practiced." 

The Productivity Commission estimated that 2.1 per cent of have difficulty controlling their gambling. 

The guide, which has been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council, will be reviewed and updated every three to five years to incorporate the latest research.

An outline of the recommendations has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia, ahead of the release of the full on Friday. 

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stakes are high for problem gamblers

Oct 31, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- People with gambling problems are unlikely to identify as having a problem or to seek help unless they have experienced serious impacts or harms, according to new research released today.

Families suffer from problem gambling

Oct 27, 2009

Many people perceive gambling to be a harmless recreational activity. However, it is estimated that six to eight million people in the United States personally suffer from a gambling related problem. This problem seems to ...

Gambling problem exposed as access grows

May 19, 2011

A new paper by University of Calgary psychologist Dr. David Hodgins says the proliferation of gambling opportunities around the world, particularly online, is increasing the visibility of gambling disorders and giving access ...

Recommended for you

Some people may be pre-wired to be bilingual

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Some people's brains seem pre-wired to acquire a second language, new research suggests. But anyone who tries to move beyond their mother tongue will likely gain a brain boost, the small study ...

Elderly brains learn, but maybe too much

13 hours ago

A new study led by Brown University reports that older learners retained the mental flexibility needed to learn a visual perception task but were not as good as younger people at filtering out irrelevant ...

Inpatient psychotherapy is effective in Germany

16 hours ago

Sarah Liebherz (Department of Medical Psychology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Sven Rabung (Institute of Psychology, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt) have examined 59 studies conducted between 1977 ...

A game changer to boost literacy and maths skills

17 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Finding the best way to teach reading has been an ongoing challenge for decades, especially for those children in underprivileged areas who fail to learn to read. What is the magic ingredient that will ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.