An Exploratory Study in Gambling Recovery Communities: A Comparison Between ‘‘Pure’’ and Substance-Abusing Gamblers
Keywords:gambling disorder, Substance Use Disorder, comorbidity, behavioural addiction, pathological gambling, personality traits, poly-substance abuser, substance abuse
Most of the available literature has shown that gambling disorder (GD) is often associated with several psychiatric conditions. Comorbidities with mood disorders, impulsiveness, personality traits, and impairments in cognitive function have also been frequently investigated. However, it is currently uncommon to study this disorder in individuals without comorbid substance abuse; therefore, the primary aim of our study was to compare the psychological profile of individuals with GD with and without substance use disorder. A total of 60 participants (100% male), including 20 individuals with GD, 20 substance-dependent gamblers (SDGs), and 20 healthy controls (HCs), were assessed with several clinical measures to investigate impulsivity, hostility, mood, and personality traits, as well as with cognitive tasks (i.e., decision-making tasks). Our results showed differences in both experimental groups compared with the HC group in mood disorders, impulsivity, and hostility traits. The ‘‘pure’’ GD group differed from the SDG group only in characteristics related to mood disorders (e.g., State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Y2, Beck Depression Inventory-II, and assault dimension), whereas greater impairment in decision making processes related to risky choices was shown in the SDG group. This study suggests the importance of studying pure GD to clarify the underlying mechanisms without the neurotoxic effects of the substances. This could provide an important contribution to the treatment and understanding of this complex disorder.
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