Introduction to the Special Series on Gambling Disorders


Gambling Disorder is a mental health condition that negatively affects millions of people and has ripple effects on family members, friends, and society in general. Over the last few decades, research into the causes and consequences of Gambling Disorder has helped produce effective prevention and treatment strategies. However, more research and more public education are needed—particularly as communities and those already at high risk for gambling problems are faced with the challenge of adapting to new gambling opportunities.

This month, as part of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, The BASIS focuses on Gambling Disorder. Each of our weekly science reviews will review current research related to gambling-related problems and their connections to other expressions of addiction. In The WAGER, we review a population-based study that questioned whether women who gamble progress to Gambling Disorder fast than men. The DRAM investigates how, despite the growth in scientific evidence of similarities between behavioral and chemical addictions, public perception still views behavioral addictions such as Gambling Disorder as fundamentally different from substance use problems. This month’s ASHES reviews research on the effects of nicotine on gambling behavior. Finally, STASH will summarize a study that examined prevalence and predictors of suicidality in a sample of patients with drug and/or Gambling Disorders.

We will supplement these science reviews with a series of Editorials. On Friday, February 27, Debi LaPlante of the Division on Addiction invited providers to consider screening their clients on Gambling Disorder Screening Day, March 10th. On Friday, March 6th, Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, discussed the prevalence of gambling disorders among military veterans and encouraged healthcare providers, especially those who serve veteran clients, to screen for gambling disorder. On Friday, March 14th, we present an Editorial from Jodie Nealley, a women who has experienced Gambling Disorder and its consequences first-hand. Ms. Nealley’s powerful story reminds us all why we need to keep working to discover the best ways to prevent and treat this condition. Finally, on Friday, March 20th, Mr. Victor Ortiz of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling presents an Editorial titled “Problem Gambling: A Community Perspective.”

We hope you will enjoy and learn from this Special Series.

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