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  • 1 Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
  • 2 Awake to Wisdom, Centre for Meditation, Mindfulness, and Psychological Wellbeing, Nottingham, UK
  • 3 Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, NG1 4BU, UK

Abstract

Purpose

In the last five years, scientific interest into the potential applications of Buddhist-derived interventions (BDIs) for the treatment of problem gambling has been growing. This paper reviews current directions, proposes conceptual applications, and discusses integration issues relating to the utilisation of BDIs as problem gambling treatments.

Method

Aliterature search and evaluation of the empirical literature for BDIs as problem gambling treatments was undertaken.

Results

To date, research has been limited to cross-sectional studies and clinical case studies and findings indicate that Buddhist-derived mindfulness practices have the potential to play an important role in ameliorating problem gambling symptomatology. As an adjunct to mindfulness, other Buddhist-derived practices are also of interest including: (i) insight meditation techniques (e.g., meditation on ‘emptiness’) to overcome avoidance and dissociation strategies, (ii) ‘antidotes’ (e.g., patience, impermanence, etc.) to attenuate impulsivity and salience-related issues, (iii) loving-kindness and compassion meditation to foster positive thinking and reduce conflict, and (iv) ‘middle-way’ principles and ‘bliss-substitution’ to reduce relapse and temper withdrawal symptoms. In addition to an absence of controlled treatment studies, the successful operationalisation of BDIs as effective treatments for problem gambling may be impeded by issues such as a deficiency of suitably experienced BDI clinicians, and the poor provision by service providers of both BDIs and dedicated gambling interventions.

Conclusions

Preliminary findings for BDIs as problem gambling treatments are promising, however, further research is required.

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