Take the quiz: How much do you know about problem gambling?

March 1, 2017
Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network Coordinating Office
Editor, NIATx

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) sponsors Problem Gambling Awareness Month each March to increase awareness of problem gambling and of the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services.

What kind of people become problem gamblers? 

According to the NCPG FAQ page, "Anyone who gambles can develop problems if they are not aware of the risks and do not gamble responsibly. When gambling behavior interferes with finances, relationships, and the workplace, a serious problem already exists. "

People with a substance abuse disorders are at increased risk for other behavioral health disorders, including problem gambling. And treatment opportunities for people with gambling disorder have not kept pace with the increase in opportunities to gamble: 48 states and the District of Columbia now offer some form of legalized gambling.

 Take this quick quiz* to test your knowledge about problem gambling 

1. What percent of U.S. adults develop problems with gambling ("disordered gambling")? 

a. 86-90%
b. Less than 10%
c. 5-9%

Answer: C. Gambling is a popular activity, with 86-90% of U.S. adults engaging in some form of gambling. Less than 10% develop problem gambling. Five to nine percent of U.S. adults develop any "disordered gambling," and 1.6-3.9% develop gambling disorder. 

2. Including gambling disorder in the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Chapter "Substance-related and Addictive Disorders" reflects that the brain mechanisms associated with these two disorders appear to be very similar. 

Answer: True. The two sets of disorders are characterized by many or most of the same symptoms, and the brain mechanisms associated with them appear to be very similar. 

3. What percentage of clients with a gambling disorder also meet criteria for one or more additional DSM-5 diagnoses?
a. 10%
b. 25%
c. 50%

Answer: 50 percent of gambling clients also meet criteria for one or more additional DSM-5 diagnoses in addition to gambling disorder. 

4. Disorders that commonly co-occur with gambling disorder include:
a. Substance use disorders
b. Depressive disorders
c. Anxiety disorders
d. All of the above

Answer: D, all of the above. According to SAMHSA's TIP 42, Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders, "The rate of co-occurrence of pathological gambling among people with substance use disorders has been reported as ranging from 9 to 30 percent, and the rate of substance abuse among individuals with pathological gambling has been estimated at 25 to 63 percent. The SAMHSA publication, Gambling Problems: An Introduction for Behavioral health Service Providers,  reports: 
"According to the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, of people diagnosed with pathological gambling, 73.2 percent had an alcohol use disorder, 38.1 percent had a drug use disorder, 60.4 percent had nicotine dependence, 49.6 percent had a mood disorder, 41.3 percent had an anxiety disorder, and 60.8 percent had a personality disorder." 

5. T/F. Many people with a gambling disorder seek treatment.

False. Despite the many adverse consequences of disordered gambling, fewer than 8% of pathological gamblers ever seek or receive services.

*Source:  ATTC Network Problem Gambling Disorder course, HealtheKnowledge

Want to find out more?

Take our online course. The ATTC Network offers self-paced online course on problem gambling, available through HealtheKnowledge. (Look for Problem Gambling Disorder in the "Special Topics in Behavioral Health" section.) The course consists of one-hour modules presented by national experts on topics including problem gambling diagnosis, screening, treatment, and special populations. Complete the quizzes after each module, and you'll earn continuing education credits. The course is free, but there's a small fee for the CEUs. 

Read related articles and blogs posts.  

From the ATTC Messenger

Screening for Problem Gambling: Have the Conversation  (March 2016). Dr. Loreen Rugle, Director of the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, gives a great overview on ways behavioral health professionals can include discussion of and screening for problem gambling with their clients with substance use disorders.  

Research on Gambling Disorders (March 2015). Christine Reilly, Senior Research Director, National Center for Responsible Gaming, shares the importance of screening for an existing or emerging gambling problem.

From the ATTC/NIATx Service Improvement Blog:

Women develop gambling disorders more quickly than men, writes Christine Reilly of the National Center for Responsible Gambling. 

Tips for starting a conversation that could lead to treatment for problem gambling. 

Converting crisis calls to treatment: Tips from the Iowa Office of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention, May 2014 
Iowa was the first state in the country to establish a state-funded gambling treatment program, and the first to offer a free state-wide problem gambling hotline. Read how the Iowa Office of Problem Gambling Treatment and Prevention used NIATx tools to increase the number of callers who are referred to treatment. 

Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling, invites behavioral health professionals to participate in National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. 

Bill LaBine, former director and clinical supervisor of the Jackie Nitschke Center in Green Bay, WI, shares his experience as a person in recovery from a problem gambling disorder. 

Is your agency recognizing Problem Gambling Awareness Month? Share information on your event in the comments section below. 

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