If gambling treatment was evidence based, what would it look like?

First published: 30 March 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

Research and clinical interventions for problem gambling are best served by a biopsychosocial approach that incorporates the best strands of contemporary psychology, biology and sociology. This paper very briefly overviews pharmacological treatments, psychotherapies, self-help treatments, behavioural treatments, cognitive-behavioural treatments and other more idiosyncratic treatments (e.g., hypnotherapy, logotherapy, residential therapy, audio playback therapy etc.). The paper also identifies knowledge gaps and argues that much of the research has been based on self-selected samples of treatment-seekers or those recruited via adverts. The paper concludes that little is known about the relative effectiveness of different approaches because most studies have methodological shortcomings, and that lack of sound theoretical understanding of causes of problem gambling hinders the ability to design effective interventions. A review of the limited research that exists on problem gambling treatment suggests inadequate knowledge to answer questions about problem gambling service effectiveness.


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Dr Mark Griffiths