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J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2004 Mar;17(1):13-9.

Pathological gambling among elderly veterans.

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  • 1Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Medical Center, Brecksville Division, Veterans Addiction Recovery Center, 10000 Brecksville Road, Brecksville, OH 44141, USA.


The purpose of the present study was to examine elderly patients, aged 60 and older, admitted to a residential gambling treatment program and to compare them to a younger cohort on a variety of mental health factors and measures. A retrospective chart review was performed for 37 elderly gamblers consecutively admitted to the Gambling Treatment Program of a VA center between December 1999 and December 2002. These elderly subjects were compared with a younger cohort of 98 gamblers. On intake, the gamblers completed the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and a variety of mental health questionnaires. Compared to the younger cohort, elderly gamblers were more likely to be retired but demonstrated similar impairment on the ASI composite employment severity score. Elderly gamblers were just as likely as the younger gamblers to have a lifetime history of serious suicidal ideation. They were equally likely as the younger cohort to carry a psychiatric diagnosis, and depression was the most common diagnosis.

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