Aim: An exploratory study was conducted to understand the process of recovery from gambling problems.
Design: Media recruitment was used to identify a resolved (n = 43) and a comparison group of active pathological gamblers (n = 63).
Participants: Participants showed evidence of significant problems related to gambling as well as high rates of co-morbid mood and substance use disorders. The median length of resolution was 14 months with a range of 6 weeks to 20 years.
Findings: Resolved gamblers reported a variety of reasons for quitting gambling, related mainly to emotional and financial factors. They did not experience a greater number of precipitating life events compared with active gamblers but did report an increase in positive and a decrease in negative life events in the year after resolution. Both resolved and active gamblers who had relatively more severe problems were more likely to have had treatment or self-help involvement, whereas those with less severe problems, if resolved, were "naturally recovered".
Conclusions: The results support the need for a continuum of treatment options for problem gamblers and provide helpful information about recovery processes.