Recovery in pathological gambling: An imprecise concept

Lia Nower, Alex Blaszczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Pathological gambling is classified as a disorder of impulse control, though many of its diagnostic criteria parallel those found in substance use disorders. A number of unitary and complex biopsychosocial conceptual models have been postulated to account for the multifactorial nature of gambling pathology. These models have implications for varied treatment approaches in the management of pathological gambling. Recovery is a diffused concept that has been variously and inconsistently determined by the remission or absence of clinical symptoms, the absence of diagnostic criteria, or the achievement of personal development, independence, and function. The lack of conceptual clarity and definitional precision make it difficult to ascertain the actual efficacy of interventions or their relative effectiveness when compared to similar treatments in different population settings or to different treatment approaches. Future investigations should clearly conceptualize the concept of recovery to evaluate the nature and extent of improvement along a spectrum that includes measurement of (a) decreases in frequency of and the time spent gambling, (b) abstinence or controlled gambling that meets financial obligations, (c) absence of symptoms of impaired control and cross-addicted behaviors, and (d) absence of negative consequences and improved quality of life over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1844-1864
Number of pages21
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number12-13
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Problem and pathological gambling
  • Recovery
  • Treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Recovery in pathological gambling: An imprecise concept'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this