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Release: Immediate

UI study to look at compulsive gambling

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Men and women age 18 and older who believe they have a gambling problem are invited to participate in a University of Iowa College of Medicine study on compulsive gambling.

UI researchers are interested in finding out more about compulsive gamblers' behavior, emotions and general health. "Despite the enormous scope of this problem, very little data exists on the types of emotional and health problems compulsive gamblers face," says Dr. Donald Black, UI professor of psychiatry. "Previous research suggests this affects as many as three percent of the population, mostly men. For many of these people the problem begins in adolescence or early adulthood and progresses over several years."

Compulsive gambling is characterized by some psychiatrists as a disorder of impulse control. It is a failure to resist the impulse to gamble, despite serious personal and financial consequences. It is becoming a growing problem in states that use legalized gambling to raise state revenues.

There are no proven treatments for compulsive gambling, Black notes. The most popular are 12-step programs similar to those used to treat people with alcoholism.

Study participants will be asked to make one visit to the UI to be interviewed about their gambling behavior, their emotions and their general health. Interviews will last approximately one to two hours. Compensation is available.

For more information, contact Dr. Donald Black at (319) 353-4431.