By On June 2nd, 2006

APA: Gamblers Ease Anger by Wagering

Could anger be linked with gambling? One study suggests that there is a link. Stefan Brennan, M.D., of Toronto’s Center for Addiction, recently relayed preliminary findings regarding a study done at his center during an American Psychiatric Association Conference.

Brennan stated that gamblers may be placing their bets as a strategy to cope with anger. To complicate matters, Dr. Brennan found that there was also a high instance of angry outbursts after gambling occurred. All of the gamblers in the study tended to lose money and had misperceptions about the likelihood of winning.

According to Dr. Brennan “they misunderstand the likelihood of winning, or underestimate the consequences of losing.” The study, which included sixty-two patients with gambling and anger problems, suggested that coping skills such as humor outperform standard cognitive behavioral therapy. The following is an excerpt of the article:

“Problem gamblers, especially those with concurrent alcohol or substance abuse, may be placing their bets as part of a “maladaptive” strategy to control anger, researchers said here today.

For clinicians, the finding implies that evaluating an addicted patient’s problems with anger management may play an important role in deciding on a possible treatment, said Stefan Brennan, M.D., of Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health during the American Psychiatric Association meeting.

Rather than focus on the behavior itself, “it may be worth asking how they feel about it,” Dr. Brennan said in an interview.”

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