A UNLV survey of more than 400 patients treated for gambling addiction in Nevada finds that 92 percent either cut back or completely stopped gambling after treatment. Patients also made improvements in dealing with life issues and avoided harmful behaviors typically associated with gambling excessively.
The survey is part of the UNLV Nevada Problem Gambling Project, which is a series of reports tracking Nevada's problem gamblers to determine how gambling addiction develops over time. In this latest report, UNLV researchers analyzed the post-treatment lives of recent patients from six state-funded gambling treatment programs.
Patients said the bonds formed with counselors and fellow group members were the most helpful in rehabilitation. Researchers measured the treatment's success by how well patients functioned in areas such as housing, work and family life and everyday issues.
According to the report, patients said the treatment program's quality, availability of services, proximity and cost also contributed to their progress.
"This data represents a major victory for treatment clinics, and counters the notion that gambling is a disorder that is impossible to overcome," said Bo Bernhard, the study's lead investigator and director of gambling research at UNLV's International Gaming Institute (IGI). "Given the desperate status of many clients when they arrived for treatment, this study reveals dramatic improvements in self-confidence and the strength to avoid gambling. This emphasizes how these programs need continued support."
Details about the latest report out of the Nevada Problem Gambling Project:
- 92 percent of patients have reduced gambling since the period of time when they gambled most heavily
- 94 percent said they now spend less money per gambling outing
- 96 percent gamble fewer days per week
- 94 percent gamble fewer hours per episode
Many participants were dealing with other addictions (including alcohol, drugs or methamphetamines) prior to entering treatment, and claimed that these programs helped reduce or discontinue their other addictions.
The Nevada Problem Gambling Project is a partnership between the IGI and UNLV sociology department and is funded through a grant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.