A naturalistic sample of pathological gamblers (N=101) who recently quit gambling was followed prospectively for a year (follow-up rate 80%). Lifetime mood disorders were identified in 61% of participants and 73% and 48% had lifetime alcohol use and drug use disorders respectively. Current prevalence rates, however, were much lower. Current mood disorders were found for 20% and 7% had a current alcohol disorder and 7% a current drug use disorder. Age of onset for substance use disorders was earlier than gambling disorders but mood disorders were equally likely to predate or follow gambling disorders. Lifetime mood disorder was associated with a longer time to achieve three months of stable abstinence. Participants who were currently in treatment or attending Gamblers Anonymous and the small number of participants with current alcohol disorders were also more likely to achieve abstinence earlier. The results underscore the importance of increasing our understanding of the role of comorbid disorders in the recovery process from gambling problems.
This research was supported by the National Center for Responsible Gaming.