[Gambling and internet addiction: review and research agenda]

Nervenarzt. 2009 Sep;80(9):1030-9. doi: 10.1007/s00115-009-2741-1.
[Article in German]


Behavioral addictions, especially pathological gambling and internet addiction, have become a growing concern in research and health policy. Similarities between behavioral addictions and substance dependency are currently being discussed in the scientific community. Unfortunately the number of scientific studies on pathological gambling and internet addiction is still very low. The estimated prevalence of pathological gambling among the German population is 0.2-0.5%. These numbers are comparable to prevalence rates reported for illegal drug dependency. About 1.5 million people, i.e. 3% of the German population, are believed to be at risk of internet addiction. Therefore, it is important to investigate in more detail the clinical and neuroscientific basis of pathological gambling and internet addiction. In this review we summarize the current status of research regarding pathological gambling and internet addiction and outline possible future research perspectives in the field of neuroimaging and genetics. The aim is to develop a multifactorial and explanatory model which helps to improve the quality of existing therapeutic approaches and prevention strategies. At present, parts of the research are funded by the federal states. The authors of this article, supported by scientific associations, have established a research platform called 'pathological gambling' in which research methods and strategies will be discussed which facilitate the implementation of different studies on pathological gambling.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis*
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology
  • Behavior, Addictive / prevention & control
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Epidemiologic Research Design
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data*