The complex phenomenon of disordered gambling: emerging approaches to diagnosis and treatment in rural communities

Associate Professor Peter Harvey provides an overview of the phenomenological and methodological aspects of a treatment programme available for people who have serious gambling problems. A CBT based graded exposure therapy treatment programme is currently being provided for people with gambling problems through the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service (SGTS) in South Australia.

Approaches to treatment are being tailored to suit consumers from a range of communities including CALD, Aboriginal and Rural communities. Discussion focuses on current trends in identifying, assessing and treating people with gambling problems and highlights some of the difficulties experienced in providing gambling treatment programmes in rural communities.

Further, the proposition that a population health approach to remediating disordered gambling could address the emerging problems associated with the gaming industry is outlined, as the crucial question about who should fund help services and support programmes for people with gambling problems becomes increasingly topical in our communities today.

In conclusion, as problem gambling or disordered gambling is now seen as a form of mental illness, this classification raises the possibility of disordered gambling being treated and managed using self-management strategies similar to those used in the management of chronic and complex illness. Initial results of a pilot study into the application of peer led self-management education programmes are presented as an example of a relapse prevention strategy for clients following participation in the formal SGTS treatment programme.

Associate Professor Peter Harvey, Flinders Centre for Gambling Research & Manager of the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service, Flinders University will present at the:

4th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium to be held on the 19 – 21 November 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

Web:  https://dev3.anzmh.asn.au/rrmh         Email: ruralhealth@anzmh.asn.au