People who gamble often have trouble quitting.
Now, a new study suggests that those who do so might be able to recover from their addiction without resorting to prescription drugs.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, analyzed the lives of more than 7,000 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is used by state and local governments to track trends in obesity and diabetes rates.
The researchers found that about 7 percent of the people in the study had tried to quit gambling in the previous 12 months.
The average age of those who had tried was 27.
The study also found that people who used to gamble reported being more likely to become addicted than people who had never gambled.
The data revealed that those in the gambling addiction category were more likely than those who hadn’t been involved in the industry to have had problems controlling their gambling, to have been prescribed drugs, or to have lost their job.
The researchers also found evidence that people with gambling problems were more susceptible to addiction and were more frequently using prescription drugs, while those who didn’t have gambling problems had fewer problems with gambling.
While there are no proven treatment options for gambling addiction, the researchers suggest that helping people quit gambling could have benefits for people who are addicted.
“We found that a large portion of people who have gambling problem are more likely, at least in part, to continue to gamble despite efforts to quit,” said lead researcher Jennifer S. McNeill, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of psychology and the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn.
“In particular, the study suggests people who struggle with gambling problem may be able, through interventions that focus on reducing gambling, be able regain control over their behavior without resort to prescription medications or relapse to gambling.”
Dr. McNeil and her colleagues used data from the National Survey of Family Growth and Health, a longitudinal study of U.S. families that has been tracking families since 1999.
The results show that people in this category were most likely to have tried to get help for gambling problems.
About half of those in this group reported using some form of behavioral intervention, such as counseling, medication, or social support.
About 15 percent of people in that group reported that they had lost their work, and almost a quarter of them reported being unemployed.
“These findings suggest that people experiencing gambling problems are more susceptible than those without gambling problem to relapse to that problem,” McNeill said.
“While this finding suggests that a specific type of gambling problem is associated with increased risk for gambling relapse, it does not mean that this risk is exclusive to people who experience gambling problems.”
The researchers suggest further research should look at the specific types of gambling problems experienced by people with these gambling problems, and the types of treatment programs that are available to people with the problem.
More research is needed to understand the reasons behind these findings, but McNeill noted that the study highlights the importance of research on people who participate in the Internet gambling industry.
“While online gambling is still a growing problem, research shows that many people who gamble, including those who are struggling with gambling, are not as vulnerable as people who use other forms of gambling,” McNeil said.
“I hope this study will encourage further research into how people who play online can manage their gambling problem and recover from it, and whether they can be helped by other types of online gambling services.”SOURCE: bit.ly/1xZm0v7 American Journal of Psychiatry, online April 19, 2019.