Gambling Disorders 360°

Exploring the latest news, issues and research relating to gambling disorders and responsible gaming

Webinar on Disordered Gambling and Co-occurring Disorders Now Available for Online Viewing

by: Institute Staff | Jul 6, 2010

The National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) presented the first installment of the 2010 NCRG Webinar Series to more than 100 participants in June. Led by Dr. Marc Potenza, the webinar focused on “Co-Occurring Disorders: How Research is Informing the Identification and Treatment of Pathological Gambling.” Visit the NCRG website for an archived version of the presentation.

Dr. Potenza reviewed studies ranging from brain imaging research to population surveys that show how pathological gambling interacts and co-occurs with other psychological and addictive disorders and suggested possible treatment approaches. For example, researchers continue to confirm the relationship between pathological gambling and substance-use disorders, citing high rates of their co-occurrence in both population studies and in investigations of individuals in treatment. Other disorders that have been observed in individuals with gambling problems include mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, nicotine dependence and schizophrenia.

For health care providers, one of the challenges of co-occurring disorders is how to treat individuals with a gambling disorder and another psychiatric problem. Dr. Potenza offered a “decision tree” to help clinicians deal with the complexities of clients with gambling problems. According to the “decision tree,” a clinician should consider prescribing a mood stabilizer (such as lithium) for a client diagnosed with both disordered gambling and bipolar disorder (a mood disorder characterized by periods of extremely high energy followed by periods of depression). If the patient has a gambling problem but not bipolar disorder, the decision tree would recommend naltrexone, a drug used to treat cravings for alcohol that also has shown promise for treating pathological gambling.

If you missed the live presentation, you can access it and other past sessions free of charge in the Webinar Archives section of the NCRG website. While you’re on this site, you can sign up for the next webinar, “Regulating Interventions for Disordered Gambling: What New Research Says about the Safety, Effectiveness and Logistics of Self-Exclusion Programs,” featuring Dr. Robert Ladouceur, a leading gambling researcher who has studied self-exclusion programs, and Kevin Mullally, the developer of the first self-exclusion program in the U.S. The free program is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2010, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m., EDT. Participants will be eligible to earn one continuing education credit approved by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals; The California Foundation for Advancement of Addiction Professionals (CFAAP); and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and questions, including suggestions for webinar topics, in the comments section below.

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