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Pathological Gambling

A Clinical Guide to Treatment

Edited by Jon E. Grant, M.D., M.P.H., J.D., and Marc N. Potenza, M.D., Ph.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-695-3
  • Item #62695

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The past five years have witnessed dramatic advances in research on pathological gambling—a diagnosis often overlooked by clinicians who are unaware not only of the personal and social consequences of pathological gambling, but also of the possible treatment options. Today, clinicians can choose from an array of treatment options to substantially improve the lives of patients with this disabling illness.

Eloquently attesting to this extraordinary progress, this remarkable clinician's guide comprises the most extensive coverage on public health, clinical characteristics and treatment, psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, and interventions for adolescents, adults, and older adults. Written by the world's leading researchers on psychiatric aspects of gambling, this truly comprehensive volume discusses how to diagnose pathological gambling and provides the tools to do so. Here, 32 experts detail the clinical phenomenology, etiology, and treatment of pathological gambling, highlighting the current clinical approaches most likely to lead to early identification, symptom remission, and improvement maintenance.

Useful appendixes provide specific tests, scales, and diagnostic criteria following four major sections of the book:

  • Public Health and Epidemiology discusses prevalence and definitions of recreational, problem, and pathological gambling; the relationship between the different levels of gambling severity; and gambling's effects on societal, familial, and individual health and well-being.
  • Clinical Characteristics covers the symptoms and sequelae of pathological gambling and the differences among adolescents, older adults, and men and women, and shows that pathological gambling—rather than being categorized as a single disorder—shares important features with many disorders, among them obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, affective spectrum disorders, addiction, and impulse-control disorder.
  • Etiology details the realms of both psychology (behavioral, cognitive, and dispositional theories) and neurobiology (noradrenergic, serotonergic, dopaminergic, and opioidergic systems as well as familial and inherited factors) to explain the behavior of pathological gambling—knowledge that may prove useful in understanding a range of addictive and impulsive disorders.
  • Prevention and Treatment emphasizes the vital role of the clinician in prevention efforts, including a prevention strategy tailored specifically for adolescents and young adults; discusses a variety of behavioral and pharmacological interventions for patients including self-help and professional-based interventions for family members; and concludes with assessments useful in diagnosing pathological gambling and monitoring symptom change.

Psychiatrists, psychiatric researchers, and other mental health care professionals will welcome this book as their most up-to-date source for invaluable knowledge about and research from the world's recognized experts on pathological gambling.


  • Contributors
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Chapter 1. Gambling and the Public Health
  • Chapter 2. Epidemiology
  • Part II: Clinical Characteristics
  • Chapter 3. Clinical Characteristics
  • Chapter 4. Categorization
  • Chapter 5. Adolescents and Young Adults
  • Chapter 6. Older Adults
  • Chapter 7. Gender Differences
  • Part III: Etiology
  • Chapter 8. Behavioral Understanding
  • Chapter 9. Biological Basis for Pathological Gambling
  • Part IV: Prevention and Treatment
  • Chapter 10. Prevention Efforts and the Role of the Clinician
  • Chapter 11. Prevention and Treatment of Adolescent Problem and Pathological Gambling
  • Chapter 12. Cognitive and Behavioral Treatments
  • Chapter 13. Pharmacological Treatments
  • Chapter 14. Screening and Assessment Instruments
  • Appendix A: DSM-IV-TR Criteria for Pathological Gambling
  • Appendix B: Early Intervention Gambling Health Test (EIGHT)
  • Appendix C: Gambling Symptom Assessment Scale (G-SAS)
  • Appendix D: South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS)
  • Appendix E: Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Modified for Pathological Gambling (PG-YBOCS)
  • Index


    Kenneth Abrams, Ph.D.
    Tami Argo, Pharm.D.
    Donald W. Black, M.D.
    Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D.
    Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D.
    Renee M. Cunningham-Williams, Ph.D., M.P.E.
    Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Ph.D.
    Rani A. Desai, M.P.H, Ph.D.
    Laurie Dickson, M.A.
    Seth A. Eisen, M.D.
    G. Ron Frisch, Ph.D., C.Psych.
    Richard Govoni, Ph.D.
    Jon E. Grant, J.D., M.D., M.P.H.
    Mark D. Griffiths, Ph.D.
    Rina Gupta, Ph.D.
    David Hodgins, Ph.D.
    Eric Hollander, M.D.
    Angela Ibanez, M.D., Ph.D.
    Alicia Kaplan, M.D.
    Rachel C. Kidman
    Suck Won Kim, M.D.
    Matt G. Kushner, Ph.D.
    Paula Moreyra, M.A.
    Stefano Pallanti, M.D.
    Nancy M. Petry, Ph.D.
    Marc N. Potenza, M.D., Ph.D.
    Jeronimo Saiz-Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D.
    Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S.
    Kamini R.Shah, MSH
    Randy Stinchfield, Ph.D., L.P.
    Ken C. Winters, Ph.D.
    Sharon B. Womack, Ph.D., M.P.E.

About the Authors

Jon E. Grant, J.D., M.D., M.P.H., is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School and Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

Marc N. Potenza, M.D., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Pathological gambling is a significant public health problem, but it is only recently that a body of systematic research on its phenomenology, etiology, and treatment has emerged. This is an important volume, for it represents the first comprehensive synthesis of current knowledge. Clinicians will find it useful in helping them to assess and manage patients with this prevalent disorder.—Dan J. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the MRC Research Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa

Pathological gambling is highly prevalent, increasingly so; usually comorbid with other psychopathology, especially substance abuse; and predictive of significant morbidity. Yet few psychiatrists and psychologists have taken the time to date to familiarize themselves with its diagnostic features, clinical characteristics, and effective treatments. This comprehensive textbook, the first devoted exclusively to this syndrome, has been edited and largely written by the researchers and clinicians most responsible for the growing literature on pathological gambling. At its publication, it will become the indispensable guide to this important clinical condition for everyone who treats or studies pathological gamblers.—Peter E. Nathan, Ph.D., University of Iowa Foundation, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

This book provides a comprehensive overview of some of the latest research in this fast-growing but often overlooked field. In particular it will help clinicians to recognize and appropriately treat clients with gambling problems. The understanding we have today of pathological gambling research and treatment is rooted in a foundation established by a number of pioneering researchers and advocates.—Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling

Pathological Gambling: A Clinical Guide to Treatment is a well written and conceptually engaging book. Regardless of the reader's familiarity with pathological gambling, the book provides concise chapters that summarize the most recent research findings into clinically relevant messages. . . [I]t is up-to-date, is organized well, and serves as a fundamental starting point for the treatment of pathological gamblers.—Timothy Fong, M.D., Psychiatric Services

This book is an excellent resource that is highly recommended for clinicians and undergraduate students wishing to gain an overview of the field of pathological gambling. There is a wealth of useful statistics and the strengths and weaknesses of what is known about the aetiology and clinical treatment of pathological gambling articulated clearly.—Alex Blaszczynski, M.D., Addiction

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