Australian Study Redefines Problem Gambling as 'Misguided Obsession'

Published Saturday, May 12, 2012 -

At the University of Sydney's Gambling Treatment Clinic in the great Down Under researchers concluded a study and said there is a new definition for what was previously thought to be an addiction to gambling.

Dr. Fadi Anjoul the Education and Training Officer at the Gambling Treatment Clinic revealed that gambling is not necessarily the ‘addiction’ as it is perceived by many, “The idea of gambling addiction is widespread, but inaccurate," The fact that issues with gambling have been linked with alcohol and drug addictions although withdrawals and tolerance factors do not appear among those with gambling problems. Anjoul continued to explain, “Problem gambling is better thought of as a misguided obsession, which means we are dealing with habitual and poorly informed choices rather than biological processes that are beyond individual control.” A more clearly defined definition of problem gambling has given rise to better forms of treatment.

Dr. Anjoul has developed a new process using cognitive therapy that as a rule has significantly better results than traditional therapies based on the old models for addiction treatment. Dr. Anjoul was of the opinion that, “Traditional therapies tend to focus on ways to help people deal with their urges when they occur and show high rates of relapse after therapy ends. However, with the model we are working with, we often find that by the end of treatment, people are experiencing very few urges to gamble.”

Professor Alex Blaszczynski, who is the Head of the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology and an accredited expert on problem gambling, concurred with Dr. Anjoul, “The results we are getting so far at the Gambling Treatment Clinic with the new cognitive therapy are extremely exciting. It is early days but at this point it appears we are seeing better treatment outcomes and much lower relapse rates than have been found elsewhere.”

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