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      Gambling disorder, increased mortality, suicidality, and associated comorbidity: A longitudinal nationwide register study

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          Background and aims

          Gambling disorder (GD) appears to be an independent risk factor for suicide, and all-cause mortality has been sparsely studied in patients with GD. This study aims to explore mortality and suicide rates in individuals with GD compared to the general population as well as explore risk factors associated with all-cause mortality and suicide mortality.


          This is a nationwide register study on 2,099 individuals with a GD diagnosis in the Swedish inpatient and/or outpatient specialist health care system between the years of 2005–2016. Comorbid diagnoses from treatment episodes included in national registers were categorized into diagnostic groups according to the 10th revision of International Classification of Diseases, and prevalence rates (any occurrence during 2005–2016) were calculated for each diagnostic group. Multivariate Cox regression analyses on risk factors for death and suicide were performed, controlling for age, gender, and major categories of comorbidity. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated for men and women with regard to overall mortality and suicide compared to the general Swedish population.


          The population consisted of 1,625 men and 474 women ranging from 18 to 83 years of age at first GD diagnosis (mean: 36.5 years). Sixty-seven individuals passed away, among whom 21 deaths were due to suicide. SMR calculations showed a 1.8-fold increase in mortality for individuals 20–74 years old with GD compared to the general population, and a 15-fold increase in suicide mortality. All-cause mortality was predicted by higher age and any treatment episode for cardiovascular disease, whereas suicide death was predicted by depression.

          Discussion and conclusions

          Mortality and suicide rates are significantly elevated among individuals with GD. Although common mental health comorbidities did not predict overall mortality, depression predicted suicide death. Findings call for attention to long-term risk of death in GD patients and interventions against comorbid health problems.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

          To present nationally representative data on lifetime prevalence and comorbidity of pathological gambling with other psychiatric disorders and to evaluate sex differences in the strength of the comorbid associations. Data were derived from a large national sample of the United States. Some 43,093 household and group quarters residents age 18 years and older participated in the 2001-2002 survey. Prevalence and associations of lifetime pathological gambling and other lifetime psychiatric disorders are presented. The diagnostic interview was the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version. Fifteen symptom items operationalized the 10 pathological gambling criteria. The lifetime prevalence rate of pathological gambling was 0.42%. Almost three quarters (73.2%) of pathological gamblers had an alcohol use disorder, 38.1% had a drug use disorder, 60.4% had nicotine dependence, 49.6% had a mood disorder, 41.3% had an anxiety disorder, and 60.8% had a personality disorder. A large majority of the associations between pathological gambling and substance use, mood, anxiety, and personality disorders were overwhelmingly positive and significant (p .05). Pathological gambling is highly comorbid with substance use, mood, anxiety, and personality disorders, suggesting that treatment for one condition should involve assessment and possible concomitant treatment for comorbid conditions.
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            Comorbidity of DSM-IV Pathological Gambling and Other Psychiatric Disorders

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              Burden of depressive disorders by country, sex, age, and year: findings from the global burden of disease study 2010.

              Depressive disorders were a leading cause of burden in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 1990 and 2000 studies. Here, we analyze the burden of depressive disorders in GBD 2010 and present severity proportions, burden by country, region, age, sex, and year, as well as burden of depressive disorders as a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease. Burden was calculated for major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia. A systematic review of epidemiological data was conducted. The data were pooled using a Bayesian meta-regression. Disability weights from population survey data quantified the severity of health loss from depressive disorders. These weights were used to calculate years lived with disability (YLDs) and disability adjusted life years (DALYs). Separate DALYs were estimated for suicide and ischemic heart disease attributable to depressive disorders. Depressive disorders were the second leading cause of YLDs in 2010. MDD accounted for 8.2% (5.9%-10.8%) of global YLDs and dysthymia for 1.4% (0.9%-2.0%). Depressive disorders were a leading cause of DALYs even though no mortality was attributed to them as the underlying cause. MDD accounted for 2.5% (1.9%-3.2%) of global DALYs and dysthymia for 0.5% (0.3%-0.6%). There was more regional variation in burden for MDD than for dysthymia; with higher estimates in females, and adults of working age. Whilst burden increased by 37.5% between 1990 and 2010, this was due to population growth and ageing. MDD explained 16 million suicide DALYs and almost 4 million ischemic heart disease DALYs. This attributable burden would increase the overall burden of depressive disorders from 3.0% (2.2%-3.8%) to 3.8% (3.0%-4.7%) of global DALYs. GBD 2010 identified depressive disorders as a leading cause of burden. MDD was also a contributor of burden allocated to suicide and ischemic heart disease. These findings emphasize the importance of including depressive disorders as a public-health priority and implementing cost-effective interventions to reduce its burden. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                14 November 2018
                December 2018
                : 7
                : 4
                : 1091-1099
                [ 1 ]Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Psychiatry, Lund University , Lund, Sweden
                [ 2 ]Clinical Research Unit, Malmö Addiction Center , Region Skåne, Sweden
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Anders Håkansson; Clinical Research Unit, Malmö Addiction Center, Södra Förstadsgatan 35, plan 4, Malmö S-205 02, Region Skåne, Sweden; Phone: +46 70 313 56 77; Fax: +46 46 149 853; E-mail: anders_c.hakansson@
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 7, Equations: 0, References: 51, Pages: 9
                Funding sources: No financial support was received specifically for this study. AH holds at position as professor at Lund University financed in collaboration between Lund University and the Swedish gambling operator monopoly, Svenska spel AB, as a part of the latter part’s responsibility for gambling and research policy, but this funding is not aimed for any projects specifically, and the funding body has no influence on the research ideas, research designs or interpretations, and publications of findings.
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