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North American studies show bipolar disorder is associated with elevated
rates of problem gambling; however, little is known about rates in the
different presentations of bipolar illness.
To determine the prevalence and distribution of problem gambling in
people with bipolar disorder in the UK.
The Problem Gambling Severity Index was used to measure gambling problems
in 635 participants with bipolar disorder.
Moderate to severe gambling problems were four times higher in people
with bipolar disorder than in the general population, and were associated
with type 2 disorder (OR = 1.74, P = 0.036), history of
suicidal ideation or attempt (OR = 3.44, P = 0.02) and
rapid cycling (OR = 2.63, P = 0.008).
Approximately 1 in 10 patients with bipolar disorder may be at moderate
to severe risk of problem gambling, possibly associated with suicidal
behaviour and a rapid cycling course. Elevated rates of gambling problems
in type 2 disorder highlight the probable significance of modest but
unstable mood disturbance in the development and maintenance of such
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