Pathological gambling accompanies myriad of psychological disorders for some veterans

American Indian and Hispanic veterans are much more likely than the general population to be pathological gamblers, and their addiction is likely accompanied by several psychological disorders, according to a study of 1,221 such veterans in the southwest and north central United States.

American Indian veterans in the study had a pathological gambling rate of 10 percent, and Hispanic veterans had a rate of 4.9 percent. Previous studies have estimated pathological gambling is prevalent in .9 percent to 3.4 percent of the U.S. population. One key to treatment and early intervention, the study's authors say, is recognizing that pathological gamblers are often suffering from substance abuse, an anxiety disorder or an affective disorder such as major depression or bipolar disorder.

"Early interventions for Pathological Gambling should consider common psychiatric conditions rather than focusing on Pathological Gambling alone," the study's authors wrote.

[From: "Lifetime Prevalence of Pathological Gambling Among American Indian and Hispanic Veterans." Contact: Joseph J. Westermeyer, MD, MPH, PhD, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., [email protected]]

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