Gambling disorder: an integrative review of animal and human studies

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 Apr;1394(1):106-127. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13356.


Gambling disorder (GD), previously called pathological gambling and classified as an impulse control disorder in DSM-III and DSM-IV, has recently been reclassified as an addictive disorder in the DSM-5. It is widely recognized as an important public health problem associated with substantial personal and social costs, high rates of psychiatric comorbidity, poor physical health, and elevated suicide rates. A number of risk factors have been identified, including some genetic polymorphisms. Animal models have been developed in order to study the underlying neural basis of GD. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the risk factors, disease course, and pathophysiology. A focus on a phenotype-based dissection of the disorder is included in which known neural correlates from animal and human studies are reviewed. Finally, current treatment approaches are discussed, as well as future directions for GD research.

Keywords: animal models; gambling disorder; impulsivity; pathological gambling.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gambling / diagnosis*
  • Gambling / etiology*
  • Gambling / therapy*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Punishment
  • Reward
  • Risk Factors