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problem gambling, obsessive compulsive behavior

A new research study conducted in partnership between Yale University, the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center has determined that there is a genetic and behavioral link between problem gambling and obsessive compulsive behavior. The researchers involved in the study hope that the links identified will help with new treatment developments and will also identify any biological factors and measures that underlie both of these conditions. The study results have been published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal. According to the senior study author, Dr. Marc Potenza, who is a professor of neurobiology, psychiatry, and child study, reported “This overlap between problem gambling and obsessive-compulsive behaviors appears to be genetic in nature. This common biological basis of the disorders could help inform treatment development efforts for individuals with co-occurring gambling problems and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.”

The latest study on problem gambling and obsessive compulsive behavior shows that those who have severe obsessive compulsive behaviors are also at a much higher risk of having a gambling disorder as well. These individuals are far more likely to meet the gambling disorder diagnostic criteria. According to Dr. Potenza, who founded the Problem Gambling Clinic at Yale University and who is the director of this clinic, psychiatry has really had to struggle when it comes to classifying gambling disorders. Past physician diagnostic guidelines classified compulsive gambling as a disorder with impulse control, but the latest guidelines classify this type of gambling problem as an addiction instead. Potenza explained “I think the current evidence in conjunction with previously published data suggests that gambling disorder shares similarities with both addictions and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.”