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Gambling Addiction in Asia: Need for a Medical Perspective?


With the rise of legalized gambling in Macau, Singapore, and other Asian countries, pathological gambling should be more thoroughly discussed by clinical and research professionals in the Asia-Pacific region. Holistic strategies for proper diagnosis, treatment referrals and prevention need to be planned in anticipation of further pro-gambling legislation. Evidence for gambling addiction as a medical condition has been gathered in the West, and studying this social issue via a medical perspective in the East may be useful in the future. Counselors and other professionals working at the frontlines may consider incorporating the medical perspective into their evaluations of pathological gamblers, and collaborating with physicians to provide medical management when appropriate. Such a biopsychosocial approach to pathological gambling may be fruitful in terms of better treatment availability, more holistic care, and decreased stigma for pathological gamblers. Training opportunities for counselors and other professionals should be increased in the Asia-Pacific region for better understanding of gambling addiction as a bio-psychosocial disease.


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Correspondence to David Chim.

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Chim, D. Gambling Addiction in Asia: Need for a Medical Perspective?. Asian J of Gambling Issues and Public Health 2, 68–74 (2011).

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