Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pathological gambling runs in families

17.06.2014

Problem may be biologically related to PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and antisocial personality

A study by University of Iowa researchers confirms that pathological gambling runs in families and shows that first-degree relatives of pathological gamblers are eight times more likely to develop this problem in their lifetime than relatives of people without pathological gambling.

"Our work clearly shows that pathological gambling runs in families at a rate higher than for many other behavioral and psychiatric disorders," says Donald W. Black, MD, professor of psychiatry in the UI Carver College of Medicine. "I think clinicians and health care providers should be alerted to the fact that if they see a person with pathological gambling, that person is highly likely to have a close relative with similar or the same problem. That is a teaching moment and they should probably encourage the patient to let their relatives know that help is available."

Pathological gambling−gambling that is serious enough that it becomes a clinical issue−is a major public health problem that affects between 0.5 and 1.5 percent of American adults at some point during their lives.

The UI study, which was the largest of its kind in the world to date, recruited and assessed 95 pathological gamblers and 91 control subjects, matched for age, sex, and level of education, from Iowa, as well as 1,075 first-degree adult relatives of the study participants (first-degree relatives include parents, siblings, and children.) Based on interviews and proxy interview material, the research team determined a gambling diagnosis for every person in the study.

They found that 11 percent of the gambling relatives had pathological gambling themselves compared to 1 percent of the control relatives, which means that the odds are about eight times higher in gambling families for pathological gambling to run in those families compared to control families.

"People have always thought pathological gambling ran in families−anecdotal evidence certainly suggested it. But when you finally do a study like this, which is the largest of its kind, and come up with figures like this, it is quite striking," says Black, who was lead author of the study published in the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

When the researchers repeated the analysis to focus on problem gambling−a larger group of people than those with the more narrowly defined pathological gambling−they found that 16 percent of relatives of the pathological gamblers were problem gamblers compared to 3 percent of relatives of controls.

The researchers also looked the relationships between pathological gambling and rates of other psychiatric and behavioral disorders among study participants and showed that relatives of pathological gamblers had higher rates of major depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, substance use disorders, PTSD, and antisocial personality disorder.

Using statistical methods the team developed algorithms to determine which disorders are potentially biologically related to the gambling.

They found that antisocial personality, social anxiety disorder, and PTSD were more frequent in the relatives of pathological gamblers independent of whether the relative also had pathological gambling.

"This suggests that pathological gambling may share an underlying genetic predisposition with those disorders," Black says.

This finding appears to confirm previous research and clinical observation suggesting that antisocial personality disorder could be biologically related to pathological gambling. However, Black was surprised by the connection between pathological gambling and social anxiety and PTSD connection.

"No one has ever published that and it's hard to know what to make of it yet," he says.

The study also confirmed that mood disorders like major depression and bipolar disorder, as well as substance abuse, are common in pathological gamblers, but the analysis suggests that this probably is not due to a shared underlying biologic predisposition.

""I think our findings should give impetus to neuroscientists who conduct molecular genetic studies to really pursue this," Black says. "Maybe this situation provides a better chance of finding genes that are linked to the gambling disorder, and maybe that would pave the way for improving our understanding of the genetic transmission in general for psychiatric disorders, particularly in the realm of addiction."

###

In addition to Black, the UI research team included William Coryell, MD; Raymond Crowe, MD; Brett McCormick; Martha Shaw; and Jeff Allen, PhD. The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA021361).

Jennifer Brown | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu

Further reports about: PTSD disorder families pathological gambling personality predisposition

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>