Luke Clark Centre for Gambling Research at UBC, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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Billieux et al. (2015) propose that the recent proliferation of behavioral addictions has been driven by deficiencies in the underlying research strategy. This commentary considers how pathological gambling (now termed gambling disorder) traversed these challenges to become the first recognized behavioral addiction in the DSM-5. Ironically, many similar issues continue to exist in research on gambling disorder, including question-marks over the validity of tolerance, heterogeneity in gambling motives, and the under-specification of neuroimaging biomarkers. Nevertheless, I contend that the case for gambling disorder as a behavioral addiction has been bolstered by the existence of clear and consistent functional impairment (primarily in the form of debt), coupled with the development of a public health approach that has given emphasis to product features (i.e. the structural characteristics of gambling forms) as much as individual dispositions (the ‘addictive personality’).

  • Avena, N. M., Gearhardt, A. N., Gold, M. S., Wang, G.-J. & Potenza, M. N. (2012). Tossing the baby out with the bathwater after a brief rinse? The potential downside of dismissing food addiction based on limited data. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(7), 514514.

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  • Billieux, J., Schimmenti, A., Khazaal, Y., Maurage, P. & Heeren, A. (2015). Are we overpathologizing everyday life? A tenable blueprint for behavioral addiction research. Journal of BehaviouralAddictions, 4, 119123.

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  • Blaszczynski, A. & Nower, L. (2002). A pathways model of problem and pathological gambling. Addiction, 97(5), 487499.

  • Blaszczynski, A., Walker, M., Sharpe, L. & Nower, L. (2008). Withdrawal and tolerance phenomenon in problem gambling. International Gambling Studies, 8(2), 179192.

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  • Boileau, I., Payer, D., Chugani, B., Lobo, D. S. S., Houle, S., Wilson, A. A., Warsh, J., Kish, S. J. & Zack, M. (2014). In vivo evidence for greater amphetamine-induced dopamine release in pathological gambling: A positron emission tomography study with [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO. Molecular Psychiatry, 19, 13051313.

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  • Chóliz, M. (2010). Experimental analysis of the game in pathological gamblers: Effect of the immediacy of the reward in slot machines. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26(2), 249256.

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  • Clark, L. (2014). Disordered gambling: The evolving concept of behavioral addiction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1327(1), 4661.

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  • Clark, L., Lawrence, A. J., Astley-Jones, F. & Gray, N. (2009). Gambling near-misses enhance motivation to gamble and recruit win-related brain circuitry. Neuron, 61(3), 481490.

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  • Clark, L., Stokes, P. R., Wu, K., Michalczuk, R., Benecke, A., Watson, B. J. Egerton, A., Piccini, P., Nutt, D. J., Bowden-Jones, H. & Lingford-Hughes, A. R. (2012). Striatal dopamine D(2)/D(3) receptor binding in pathological gambling is correlated with mood-related impulsivity. NeuroImage, 63(1), 4046.

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  • Clark, C. & Walker, D. M. (2009). Are gamblers more likely to commit crimes? An empirical analysis of a nationally representative survey of US young adults. International GamblingStudies, 9(2), 119134.

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  • Edwards, G. (2005). Matters of substance: Drugs–and why everyone’s a user. London, U.K: Macmillan.

  • Flack, M. & Morris, M. (2014). Problem gambling: One for the money...? Journal of Gambling Studies. doi:10.1007/s10899-014-9484-z

  • Hall, W., Carter, A. & Forlini, C. (2015). The brain disease model of addiction: Is it supported by the evidence and has it delivered on its promises? The Lancet Psychiatry, 2(1), 105110.

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  • King, D., Delfabbro, P. & Griffiths, M. (2009). Video Game structural characteristics: A new psychological taxonomy. InternationalJournal of Mental Health and Addiction, 8(1), 90106.

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  • Korn, D. A. & Shaffer, H. J. (1999). Gambling and the health of the public: Adopting a public health perspective. Journal of GamblingStudies, 15(4), 289365.

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  • Ladouceur, R. & Sevigny, S. (2005). Structural characteristics of video lotteries: Effects of a stopping device on illusion of control and gambling persistence. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21(2), 117131.

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  • Lesieur, H. R. (1984). The chase: The compulsive gambler. Rochester, VT: Schenkman.

  • Leyton, M. & Vezina, P. (2013). Striatal ups and downs: Their roles in vulnerability to addictions in humans. Neuroscience andBiobehavioral Reviews. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.01.018

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  • Limbrick-Oldfield, E. H., Van Holst, R. J. & Clark, L. (2013). Fronto-striatal dysregulation in drug addiction and pathological gambling: Consistent inconsistencies? NeuroImage: Clinical, 2, 385393.

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  • Manning, V., Kee, P., Yang, Y., Ng, A., Guo, S., Kandasami, G. & Eng, K. (2015). Suicidal ideation and lifetime attempts in substance and gambling disorders. Psychiatry Research, 225(3), 706709.

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  • Nutt, D. J., Lingford-Hughes, A., Erritzoe, D. & Stokes, P. R. A. (2015). The dopamine theory of addiction: 40 years of highs and lows. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(5), 305312.

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  • Petry, N. M., Blanco, C., Auriacombe, M., Borges, G., Bucholz, K., Crowley, T. J. Grant, B. F., Hasin, D. S. & O’Brien, C. (2014). An overview of and rationale for changes proposed for pathological gambling in DSM-5. Journal of Gambling Studies, 30(2), 493502.

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  • Shaffer, H. J., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Kidman, R. C., Donato, A. N. & Stanton, M. V. (2004). Toward a syndrome model of addiction: Multiple expressions, common etiology. HarvardReview of Psychiatry, 12(6), 367374.

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  • Sharman, S., Dreyer, J., Aitken, M., Clark, L. & Bowden-Jones, H. (2015). Rates of problematic gambling in a British homeless sample: A preliminary study. Journal of Gambling Studies, 31(2), 525532.

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  • Stewart, S. H. & Zack, M. (2008). Development and psychometric evaluation of a three-dimensional Gambling Motives Questionnaire. Addiction, 103(7), 11101117.

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  • Ziauddeen, H., Farooqi, I. S. & Fletcher, P. C. (2012). Obesity and the brain: How convincing is the addiction model? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(4), 279286.

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Dr. Zsolt Demetrovics
Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Address: Izabella u. 46. H-1064 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: +36-1-461-2681

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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Language English
Size A4
Year of
per Year
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Founder Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem
H-1053 Budapest, Hungary Egyetem tér 1-3.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
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Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 2062-5871 (Print)
ISSN 2063-5303 (Online)

Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Zsolt DEMETROVICS

Assistant Editor(s): Csilla ÁGOSTON

Associate Editors

  • Stephanie ANTONS (Universitat Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
  • Joel BILLIEUX (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Beáta BŐTHE (University of Montreal, Canada)
  • Matthias BRAND (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
  • Ruth J. van HOLST (Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands)
  • Daniel KING (Flinders University, Australia)
  • Gyöngyi KÖKÖNYEI (ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Ludwig KRAUS (IFT Institute for Therapy Research, Germany)
  • Marc N. POTENZA (Yale University, USA)
  • Hans-Jurgen RUMPF (University of Lübeck, Germany)

Editorial Board

  • Sophia ACHAB (Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Alex BALDACCHINO (St Andrews University, United Kingdom)
  • Judit BALÁZS (ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Maria BELLRINGER (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Henrietta BOWDEN-JONES (Imperial College, United Kingdom)
  • Damien BREVERS (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
  • Wim VAN DEN BRINK (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Julius BURKAUSKAS (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuania)
  • Gerhard BÜHRINGER (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany)
  • Silvia CASALE (University of Florence, Florence, Italy)
  • Luke CLARK (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada)
  • Jeffrey L. DEREVENSKY (McGill University, Canada)
  • Geert DOM (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
  • Nicki DOWLING (Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
  • Hamed EKHTIARI (University of Minnesota, United States)
  • Jon ELHAI (University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
  • Ana ESTEVEZ (University of Deusto, Spain)
  • Fernando FERNANDEZ-ARANDA (Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Naomi FINEBERG (University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom)
  • Sally GAINSBURY (The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia)
  • Belle GAVRIEL-FRIED (The Bob Shapell School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University, Israel)
  • Biljana GJONESKA (Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Republic of North Macedonia)
  • Marie GRALL-BRONNEC (University Hospital of Nantes, France)
  • Jon E. GRANT (University of Minnesota, USA)
  • Mark GRIFFITHS (Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)
  • Joshua GRUBBS (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA)
  • Anneke GOUDRIAAN (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Susumu HIGUCHI (National Hospital Organization Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center, Japan)
  • David HODGINS (University of Calgary, Canada)
  • Eric HOLLANDER (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA)
  • Zsolt HORVÁTH (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Susana JIMÉNEZ-MURCIA (Clinical Psychology Unit, Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Yasser KHAZAAL (Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland)
  • Orsolya KIRÁLY (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Chih-Hung KO (Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan)
  • Shane KRAUS (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, USA)
  • Hae Kook LEE (The Catholic University of Korea, Republic of Korea)
  • Bernadette KUN (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Katerina LUKAVSKA (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
  • Giovanni MARTINOTTI (‘Gabriele d’Annunzio’ University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy)
  • Gemma MESTRE-BACH (Universidad Internacional de la Rioja, La Rioja, Spain)
  • Astrid MÜLLER (Hannover Medical School, Germany)
  • Daniel Thor OLASON (University of Iceland, Iceland)
  • Ståle PALLESEN (University of Bergen, Norway)
  • Afarin RAHIMI-MOVAGHAR (Teheran University of Medical Sciences, Iran)
  • József RÁCZ (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary)
  • Michael SCHAUB (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Marcantanio M. SPADA (London South Bank University, United Kingdom)
  • Daniel SPRITZER (Study Group on Technological Addictions, Brazil)
  • Dan J. STEIN (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Sherry H. STEWART (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Attila SZABÓ (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Hermano TAVARES (Instituto de Psiquiatria do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Alexander E. VOISKOUNSKY (Moscow State University, Russia)
  • Aviv M. WEINSTEIN (Ariel University, Israel)
  • Anise WU (University of Macau, Macao, China)


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