Comorbidity, criminality, and costs of patients treated for gambling disorder in Denmark

Søren Viborg Vestergaard*, Sinna Pilgaard Ulrichsen, Christian Møller Dahl, Thomas Marcussen, Christian Fynbo Christiansen

*Kontaktforfatter

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Abstract

Gambling disorder is associated with increased mental comorbidity, unhealthy lifestyle, criminality, and costs-of-illness, but the available evidence is mainly based on self-reported survey data. We examined the registry-recorded mental and somatic comorbidities, medication use, criminality, and costs-of-illness associated with gambling disorder. We identified individuals diagnosed with or treated for gambling disorder in hospitals or specialized treatment centers during 2013–2017 and matched them by age and sex to general population comparisons. Using individual-level healthcare and socioeconomic registries, we characterized their history of mental and somatic comorbidities, medication use, and criminality. We estimated their cost-of-illness of welfare services (direct) and lowered productivity (indirect) using the human capital approach. We identified 1381 individuals with gambling disorder, primarily young (median age: 34 years) men (87%). Individuals with gambling disorder more frequently than their comparisons had previous hospital-recorded comorbidity [e.g., myocardial infarction (0.8% vs. 0.5%)], medication use [e.g., respiratory system drugs (35.6% vs. 28.6%)], and hospital-recorded or pharmacologically treated mental comorbidity [e.g., depression (39.8% vs. 14.9%)]. Also, sentenced criminality was much more common in individuals with gambling disorder (7.0%) than in comparisons (1.1%). The estimated attributable direct costs were €4.0 M corresponding to €2.9 K per person with gambling disorder, and attributable indirect costs were €17.6 M, corresponding to €13.2 K per person with gambling disorder in 2018. In conclusion, individuals diagnosed with or treated for gambling disorder have a high burden of mental and somatic comorbidities as well as criminality compared with the general population. This needs attention to minimize the societal and personal costs of gambling disorder.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Gambling Studies
Vol/bind39
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1765-1780
ISSN1050-5350
DOI
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Aarhus University Hospital. This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of the Interior and Health of Denmark.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

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