NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spotlight on Research: Natural Recovery Among Pathological Gamblers

Dr. Wendy Slutske of the University of Missouri-Columbia published a study earlier this year finding that approximately one-third of pathological gamblers experience "natural recovery" from the disorder, meaning they get better without seeking or accepting formal treatment.

Results of the study contradict what previously has been thought about gambling addiction. The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) describes pathological gambling as a chronic and persisting disorder, yet Slutske’s study points out that recent research shows gambling-related problems aren’t always chronic, suggesting natural recovery might be common.

To further investigate these areas, Slutske documented the rates of overall recovery, treatment-seeking and natural recovery among individuals who met the DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling in two large and representative U.S. national surveys. In her analysis, Slutske found that about 33-36 percent of pathological gamblers recovered on their own.

Slutske will discuss her research and its potential impact on pathological gambling treatment and public health policy during the conference session Getting Well on Your Own: New Research on Natural Recovery Among Disordered Gamblers, scheduled for 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 13. You can access Slutske’s full study here, or on the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders’ NCRG Conference Resource Page. When prompted, please enter the case-sensitive password: institute.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Spotlight on Research: Genetic Links of Disordered Gambling

In research published earlier this year, Dr. Donald W. Black of the University of Iowa found that pathological gambling runs in families. Though clinicians have long suspected that genetics play a role in the development of gambling disorders, Black’s study is the first to confirm that suspicion with solid research.

While Black’s research isn’t the first to examine a connection between heredity and disordered gambling, it is the first study of its kind to include detailed interviews with family members of pathological gamblers. By tracing the families of a group of pathological gamblers and of control subjects, Black discovered, among other findings, that lifetime rates of pathological gambling disorders were significantly higher among the families of pathological gamblers.

Black’s initial study was funded by the NCRG, and now, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is supporting an expanded study in which he will analyze about three times the number of people.

Black will discuss his research and its important implications for the assessment and treatment of pathological gambling during the conference session Runs in the Family: New Research on Genetic Links of Disordered Gambling, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 13. You can access Black’s full study directly here, or on the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders’ NCRG Conference Resource Page. When prompted, please enter the case-sensitive password: institute.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Welcome from your Conference Hosts

On behalf of the NCRG, the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, and the Division on Addictions, we want to welcome you to the blog for the 7th Annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction. At this year’s conference, we continue our efforts to bring together individuals committed to looking beyond their experiences as clinicians, researchers, gaming industry personnel, regulators and public officials to consider how we all can work together to reduce gambling-related harms.

Our theme this year, Lost in Translation? The Challenge of Turning Good Research into Best Practices, represents our organizations’ mutual commitment to bridging the gap between scientific research and best practices. To this end, our distinguished speakers will explore how what we know about gambling—both healthy and disordered—can be translated into responsible gaming practices, prevention programs, diagnosis, treatment, public health policy and gaming regulations. The NCRG conference blog team will make sure our speakers’ messages don’t get lost in translation, keeping you informed by posting entries on the latest happenings at the conference.

As you can see by viewing the full conference program, the sessions this year tackle both timely and timeless questions. We encourage you to stay tuned to the blog during the coming weeks to get a preview of these questions and the important topics that will be addressed at the conference. We hope to see you in Las Vegas next month.

Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S.
Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Director, Division on Addictions, The Cambridge Health Alliance

Phil Satre
Chairman, National Center for Responsible Gaming

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Welcome to the NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction Blog

We're just a little less than a month away from the 7th annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction, scheduled for Nov. 12-14 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and co-sponsored by the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) and the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, a program of the Division on Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Themed Lost in Translation: The Challenge of Turning Good Research into Best Practices, this year’s conference will bring together more than 400 leaders from the government, gaming industry, and research and treatment communities to discuss the latest research on pathological gambling and related disorders and how its findings can inform the development of practical solutions to prevent and treat disordered gambling. The conference also will explore various approaches to responsible gaming across the country and around the world.

To learn more about the NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction, review the full conference schedule and browse through our “Conference Resources” located in the sidebar. Keep checking in with our blog in the coming weeks to read special previews of the research, topics and trends that will be covered at the conference. And don’t miss our on-site reports from the conference as we bring you up-to-the-minute details on our most provocative sessions. Make sure you’re not missing out – sign up for our RSS feed (select one of the icons in the Subscribe section of the sidebar) to have blog updates automatically delivered to you.

We're looking forward to a great conference this year and invite you to join us for this one-of-a-kind event. Register for the conference today, and we'll see you in Las Vegas, Nov. 12-14!