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      Gambling disorder and obsessive–compulsive personality disorder: A frequent but understudied comorbidity

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          Background and aims

          Epidemiological data have suggested that the prevalence of co-occurring personality disorders is particularly high in people with gambling disorder (GD). Among the personality disorders, obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) appears to be the most common problem. The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical presentation of GD with and without co-occurring OCPD.


          We studied 25 subjects with current GD and lifetime diagnosis of OCPD. They were matched for age and gender with 25 individuals with current GD but no lifetime diagnosis of any personality disorder.


          Subjects with GD and OCPD demonstrated (a) lower severity of gambling symptoms, (b) slower progression from recreational gambling to full-blown GD, (c) preferred individual forms of betting, (d) identified more triggers to gambling (specially the availability of money and stress); and (e) reported less negative impact on relational problems due to GD.


          Our research provides further insight on GD co-occurring with OCPD, such as increasing social support and improvement of coping skills, especially to deal with financial difficulties and stress. Our findings may lead to more customized and effective therapeutic approaches to this frequent comorbidity.

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          Most cited references 42

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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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            Natural recovery and treatment-seeking in pathological gambling: results of two U.S. national surveys.

             W Slutske (2006)
            Pathological gambling is described in DSM-IV as a chronic and persisting disorder, but recent community-based longitudinal studies that have highlighted the transitory nature of gambling-related problems have called into question whether this is an accurate characterization. This emerging evidence of high rates of recovery coupled with low rates of treatment-seeking for pathological gambling suggests that natural recovery might be common. The purpose of the present study was to document the rates of recovery, treatment-seeking, and natural recovery among individuals with DSM-IV pathological gambling disorder in two large and representative U.S. national surveys. Prevalences of recovery, treatment-seeking, and natural recovery were estimated among individuals from the Gambling Impact and Behavior Study (N=2,417) and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N=43,093) who reported a lifetime history of DSM-IV pathological gambling disorder (N=21 and N=185, respectively). Among individuals with a lifetime history of DSM-IV pathological gambling, 36%-39% did not experience any gambling-related problems in the past year, even though only 7%-12% had ever sought either formal treatment or attended meetings of Gamblers Anonymous. About one-third of the individuals with pathological gambling disorder in these two nationally representative U.S. samples were characterized by natural recovery. Pathological gambling may not always follow a chronic and persisting course. A substantial portion of individuals with a history of pathological gambling eventually recover, most without formal treatment. The results of large epidemiological surveys of pathological gambling may eventually overturn the established wisdom about pathological gambling disorder.
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              Treatment utilization by patients with personality disorders.

              Utilization of mental health treatment was compared in patients with personality disorders and patients with major depressive disorder without personality disorder. Semistructured interviews were used to assess diagnosis and treatment history of 664 patients in four representative personality disorder groups-schizotypal, borderline, avoidant, and obsessive-compulsive-and in a comparison group of patients with major depressive disorder. Patients with personality disorders had more extensive histories of psychiatric outpatient, inpatient, and psychopharmacologic treatment than patients with major depressive disorder. Compared to the depression group, patients with borderline personality disorder were significantly more likely to have received every type of psychosocial treatment except self-help groups, and patients with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder reported greater utilization of individual psychotherapy. Patients with borderline personality disorder were also more likely to have used antianxiety, antidepressant, and mood stabilizer medications, and those with borderline or schizotypal personality disorder had a greater likelihood of having received antipsychotic medications. Patients with borderline personality disorder had received greater amounts of treatment, except for family/couples therapy and self-help, than the depressed patients and patients with other personality disorders. These results underscore the importance of considering personality disorders in diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric patients. Borderline and schizotypal personality disorder are associated with extensive use of mental health resources, and other, less severe personality disorders may not be addressed sufficiently in treatment planning. More work is needed to determine whether patients with personality disorders are receiving adequate and appropriate mental health treatments.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                23 June 2018
                June 2018
                : 7
                : 2
                : 366-374
                [ 1 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center , Dallas, TX, USA
                [ 2 ]Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago , Chicago, IL, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Gustavo C. Medeiros; Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas 75390-9070, TX, USA; Phone: +1 214 648 7312; Fax: +1 214 648 7370; E-mail: gcmedeiros@
                © 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: 4, Equations: 0, References: 45, Pages: 9
                Funding sources: The clinical trials gathered in this study were funded by grants received by Dr. JEG. The research grants were provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (grant number: RC1-DA028279-01); the National Center for Responsible Gaming, Forest, Transcept, Roche; and Psyadon Pharmaceuticals.
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