Pathological gambling among cocaine-dependent outpatients

Gladys W. Hall, Nicholas J. Carriero, Ruby Y. Takushi, Ivan D. Montoya, Kenzie L. Preston, David A. Gorelick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors investigated the occurrence of pathological gambling among cocaine-dependent outpatients, its influence on short-term outcome of treatment, and comparative characteristics of patients with and without pathological gambling. Method: The subjects were 313 cocaine- dependent (200 also opiate-dependent) outpatients in clinical trials of medication for cocaine dependence. Pathological gambling (DSM-III-R criteria) was assessed with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, and sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics were determined with the Addiction Severity Index. Outcome was defined as time in treatment (proportion of maximum scheduled time) and proportion of cocaine-positive urine samples during treatment. Results: Pathological gambling had a lifetime occurrence rate of 8.0% and a current (past month) occurrence of 3.8%. Onset preceded the onset of cocaine dependence in 72.0% of the patients (and preceded onset of opiate dependence in 44.4%). Patients with pathological gambling (lifetime or current) did not differ significantly from other patients in length of treatment or proportion of cocaine-positive urine samples. Those with lifetime pathological gambling were significantly more likely to have tobacco dependence (84.0% versus 61.1%) and antisocial personality disorder (56.0% versus 19.8%), to be unemployed (84.0% versus 49.3%), to have recently engaged in illegal activity for profit (64.0% versus 38.5%), and to have been incarcerated (62.5% versus 33.9%). Conclusions: Pathological gambling is substantially more prevalent among cocaine-dependent outpatients than in the general population. Patients with pathological gambling differ from other cocaine-dependent outpatients in some sociodemographic characteristics but not in short-term outcome of treatment for cocaine dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1133
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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