Different Aspects of Impulsivity in Chronic Alcohol Use Disorder With and Without Comorbid Problem Gambling

PLoS One. 2020 Jan 30;15(1):e0227645. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227645. eCollection 2020.


Background and aims: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and problem gambling are highly comorbid disorders. This study aims to explore the role of four aspects of impulsivity (trait concept of impulsivity, choice impulsivity, impulsive aggression and response inhibition/decision-making) in long-term chronic AUD patients with and without problem or pathological gambling symptoms.

Methods: Cognitively intact chronic AUD patients were enrolled with (n = 32) and without (n = 71) problem gambling symptoms in an inpatient clinic for chronic alcohol users. Multiple facets of impulsivity, cognitive ability, psychopathological symptoms, alcohol and gambling severity were measured.

Results: Chronic AUD patients with gambling disorder symptoms showed longer lifetime alcohol consumption, more severe alcohol use and higher psychopathological symptom severity than AUD patients without gambling symptoms. Gambling severity correlated with overall trait impulsivity, but not with choice impulsivity, impulsive aggression or cognitive impulsivity with controlling for lifetime alcohol consumption, lifetime alcohol use and psychopathological symptom severity. High trait impulsivity and non-planning was associated with comorbid gambling symptoms in AUD patients, which was independent of the level of intelligence, age and psychopathological symptoms.

Conclusion: Comorbid gambling disorder symptoms in chronic AUD was connected to more severe alcohol-related variables. Higher trait impulsivity was also linked with gambling disorder symptoms in patients with chronic AUD. This accents the need of special focus on comorbid GD symptoms in AUD, since prognosis and treatment for them may vary.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aggression
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Gambling / complications
  • Gambling / epidemiology
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Hungary / epidemiology
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.11473296

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.