2018 Volume 33 Pages 3-9
Gambling in Japan is considered to be unique because of pachinko, a legal mechanical gambling device. In 2016, the estimated size of the pachinko market was 197 billion US dollars, far exceeding other types of legal gambling in Japan. The most recent epidemiological study in Japan revealed that prevalence of gambling disorder (GD) was 3.6% for lifetime and 0.8% in the previous 12 months. That study also revealed that only 10% of the participants with a lifetime GD and 17% with a present GD had ever asked for help with gambling, and hardly any of the participants had sought treatment. These results clearly showed a serious treatment gap for participants with GD, as has frequently been reported in other countries. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a standard treatment for GD and a six-session treatment program is conducted at the Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center.
Impulsivity is one of the major risk factors for the development of GD. Genetic and environmental factors and their interactions have also been shown to be involved in the development of GD. Stressful life-events are also risk factors for GD. A positive correlation between violence and gambling has only been observed in men and a previous study reported that women tended to gamble to cope with anxiety and negative feelings. Therefore, the relationship between stress and GD might differ by gender.