Classification of Gambling as Addiction: Will Insurance Cover the Disorder?


WHAT: Free webinar titled “From ‘Pathological Gambling’ to ‘Gambling Disorder’: Changes to the DSM-5,” held by the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG)

WHO: Jon E. Grant, MD, JD, MPH, professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago Medicine

WHEN: 1 to 2 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In one of the most anticipated events in the mental health field, the American Psychiatric Association will release the latest version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May, involving changes to a number of categories and diagnoses.

One of the bigger changes will be the reclassification of gambling as a disorder and its shift into a new category called “Addictions and Related Disorders,” putting it together with more commonly known substance-related addictions.

Jon E. Grant, MD, JD, MPH, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, will explain the changes in classification, the new name of the disorder, and the number of symptoms required for a diagnosis during a free webinar offered by the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) on Wednesday.

He also will explore a key question: Will insurance companies have to cover treatments once gambling is classified as an addiction? Currently, there is a patchwork of differing policies and coverage.

“The significant change in the classification of gambling recognizes the severity of the problem, and will force important discussions about how effective treatments will be funded now that gambling is recognized as an addiction,” said Grant, one of the country’s preeminent researchers into gambling and other impulse-related disorders. Grant is the principal investigator at the NCRG Center of Excellence in Gambling Research at the University of Chicago, one of only two in the country, which was opened earlier this year through a three-year grant from the NCRG.

Gambling has become a major issue in Illinois as the state seeks ways to plug its gaping budget hole with new sources of revenue. But proposals to expand gaming in the state have been met with resistance from a variety of critics who question the impact on the health and welfare of the state and its citizens.

“These changes in DSM-5 toward gambling give us hope that people suffering from this affliction, and other impulse-related disorders, may now begin to get the type of treatment they need,” Grant said.

The webinar will be moderated by Christine Reilly, senior research director at the NCRG.

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