Home > Gambling in Ireland: profile of treatment episodes from a national treatment reporting system.

Condron, Ita and Lyons, Suzi and Carew, Anne Marie (2022) Gambling in Ireland: profile of treatment episodes from a national treatment reporting system. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, Early online, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1017/ipm.2022.20.


Objectives: Globally, problem gambling prevalence is estimated at between 0.1% and 5.8%. Problem gambling can have many negative consequences; including on physical, and psychological health, and social functioning. There is a need to better understand treatment uptake as only a small proportion seek treatment. This is the first Irish national study using routinely gathered health surveillance data to describe treated problem gambling. Results will inform service policy and planning.

Methods: An analysis of episodes treated for problem gambling collected by the National Drug Treatment Reporting System was undertaken. Included were episodes entering treatment between 2008 and 2019 (n = 2999). Variables of interest included service types accessed, demographics, socioeconomic information, referral and assessment details, current problems (up to five) and treatment history.

Results: The majority (93.8%) were male. One fifth (20.9%) lived with dependent children, 7.4% were homeless. There were high levels of employment (35.4%) and formal education qualifications; half (53.8%) had completed second or third level education. Problem gambling frequently co-occurred with problem use of other substances (47.3%), which was most commonly alcohol (85.6%), followed by cannabis (32.3%), cocaine (28.0%) and benzodiazepines (10.9%). The majority were treated at inpatient settings (56.1%) with many self-referrals (46.3%).

Conclusions: This study provides insights into treated problem gambling nationally. Monitoring and surveillance can play a crucial role in measuring the successful efforts and help inform planning and treatment. The findings may have implications for treatment pathways.

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