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.


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