Study Reveals Global Rates of Problem Gambling Treatment

A global study carried out by the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has found that just 1 in every 400 adults seeks help for problem gambling.

The study, which was co-authored by the university’s Associate Professor in Psychology and Neuroscience, Dr. Simone Rodda, was the first of its kind to try to assess how often problem gamblers seek help.

According to the study, 5.8% of the world’s adult population has a gambling problem but just 0.2% seek help. However, those with severe gambling problems were found to be more likely to seek help, roughly one in five; however, just one in 25 people at moderate risk would seek help.

Rodda also said that more needs to be done to solve the problem in New Zealand.

Our study shows that most people with gambling problems will not ever access treatment services. The rates of help-seeking in Aotearoa [the Mauri-language name for New Zealand] are similar to global estimates, which means that we can do much more to ensure that gamblers have accessible, convenient and relevant help when they need it.

Dr. Simone RoddaAuckland University of Technology Associate Professor in Psychology and Neuroscience

In the past, Dr. Rodda and her colleagues, together with Ministry of Health and organizations such as the Problem Gambling Foundation and Salvation Army, have worked to try to reduce problem gambling through online screening and self-help tools. According to Dr. Rodda, the challenge is to make sure that the people who need help are aware of the issues.

Dr. Rodda added, “A public health approach to gambling problems should be grounded in strong evidence of what people currently do to reduce their gambling harm. The first step for someone with a problem might be to talk to someone you already know and trust, like a friend or your GP. There is also free professional help available in New Zealand.”

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