Problem gambling associated with longer absence from work

Problem gambling associated with longer absence from work

Problem gambling associated with longer absence from work
Research into gambling has been intensifying over the past several years, mostly because of a call for an evidence-based approach to reforming gambling frameworks. The UK Gambling Commission has recently come up with a new, albeit incomplete, methodology of gauging problem gambling numbers in the country, suggesting that the actual number of problem gamblers was actually 2.5% from what was previously thought to be 0.4%. Now, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Cambridge Press focuses on the relationship between gambling addiction or problem gambling and long-term sick leave. In fact, the condition could put those who suffer from it out of the workforce for several years. “The risk and development of work disability among individuals with gambling disorder: a longitudinal case-cohort study in Sweden,” is a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet who are keen to find out more about the condition. Presently, some 105,000 people in Sweden suffer from gambling addiction, or around 1.3% of the country’s population. The research looked into 2,830 working-age individuals between the ages of 19 and 62 who participated in the study for a period of six years to properly gauge and track these people’s physical and mental health, length of education, and more. Yasmina Molero, the lead researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, also established that people who suffer from gambling addiction have an 89% higher chance to take prolonged sick leaves from work, which in the parameters of the study is defined as longer than 90 days. She was joined by her colleague Viktor Månsson who argued that this correlation between the disease and sick leaves is dangerous on its own, as people who gamble and suffer from addiction benefit from work as it allows them to both recover financially, but also alleviates mental pain and offers a distraction. Prolonged sick leave simply means that people who are on sick leave are most likely spiraling further into debt and mental problems. Månsson stressed the importance of coming up with ways to detect gambling problems in an earlier stage so that more serious problems may be avoided. “Gambling addiction risks going unnoticed, and the problems can become extensive before they are noticed and diagnosed in health care, something that this study shows,” he concluded. Sharing her colleague’s point of view, Molero thinks that studies should go even further, and observe people who suffer from gambling addiction for longer periods – up to 10 years to begin with. Only then will researchers, regulators, and businesses have a very clear picture of what to expect. Image credit: Unsplash.com

27 NOV 2023

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