A 6-month follow-up of imaginal desensitization plus motivational interviewing in the treatment of pathological gambling

Jon E. Grant, Christopher B Donahue, Brian L. Odlaug, Suck W Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Pathological gambling (PG), a disabling disorder experienced by approximately 1% of adults, has few empirically validated treatments. A recent study demonstrated that 6 sessions of imaginal desensitization plus motivational interviewing (IDMI) was effective in achieving abstinence for a majority of individuals with PG. This study sought to examine whether those benefits were maintained 6 months post-treatment. METHODS: Sixty-eight individuals who met DSM-IV criteria for PG were randomly assigned to 6 sessions of IDMI or Gamblers Anonymous (GA) referral over an 8-week period. Participants who failed to respond to GA were offered IDMI after the 8-week acute treatment period. All individuals who responded to IDMI were contacted after 6 months and assessed with measures of gambling severity and psychosocial functioning. RESULTS: Forty-four participants completed 6 sessions of IDMI (25 initially assigned to IDMI and 19 to GA). Thirty-five of the 44 (79.5%) responded during acute treatment, and all 35 were available for a 6-month evaluation. All gambling severity scales maintained statistically significant gains from baseline, although some measures showed significant worsening compared with post-IDMI treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Six sessions of IDMI resulted in statistically significant reductions in PG urges and behavior, which were largely maintained for 6 months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume23
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Impulse control disorder
  • Pathological gambling

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