Guideline for Screening, Assessment and Treatment in Problem Gambling
What is the ‘Guideline for Screening, Assessment and Treatment in Problem Gambling'?
This document is the first guideline to address problem gambling in Australia and provides recommendations to guide practice, patient and policy decisions for screening, assessment and treatment of problem gambling. The guideline summarises the research and the current state of knowledge, and has been based on the best available evidence up to March 2010. Several recommendations for practice were made, but only where there was sufficient high quality evidence available.
What does the guideline recommend?
There are three categories of recommendations in the guideline: evidence-based, consensus-based, and practice points.
There are seven evidence-based recommendations in the guideline, all of which relate to treatment. Each recommendation is associated with a Grade which indicates the level and quality of evidence upon which it is based. Each recommendation should be read in conjunction with practice points, which are available in the guideline.
For screening and assessment, in the absence of sufficient high quality evidence, there are three consensus-based recommendations and three practice points.
How do I get a copy of the guideline?
A bound copy of the guideline can be obtained for A$25 by completing the downloadable form and sending it to:
Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre
An abridged outline of the guideline has also been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
A description of the comprehensive methodological process, as well as ten accompanying technical documents, which informed the development of the guideline, are available upon request.
Who has approved the guideline?
The entire guideline and its related appendices, have been approved by the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) under Section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992. In approving this guideline the NHMRC considers that it meets the NHMRC standard for clinical practice guidelines. This approval is valid for a period of 5 years. A comprehensive and systematic process was used to develop the guideline as outlined in ‘NHMRC standards and procedures for externally developed guidelines' (1).
Who developed the guideline?
The guideline was developed by a Guideline Development Group, led by staff at Monash University, and supported by an Expert Advisory Panel as well as other technical and operational support.
The Guideline Development Group comprised:
Professor Shane Thomas (Chair), Director PGRTC, Monash University
With technical and operational support from:
Ms Anna Chapman, Research fellow PGRTC, Monash University
The Expert Advisory Panel comprised:
Clinicians with Specialist Expertise
Clinician with General Expertise
Public Policy/Government Representatives
Specialist in evidence review and Guideline Development
What are the implications for practice?
The recommended actions included within the guideline will in some cases result in new procedures and additional costs for practitioners and services.
In relation to treatment, the guideline recommendations will result in a consolidation of current practices in Australia. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, for example, is already widely used as the therapy of choice in problem gambling treatment, and is a standard component of training in psychology and psychiatry clinical curriculums. All the recommendations for practice must be delivered by appropriately trained professionals.
(1) NHMRC. NHMRC standards and procedures for externally developed guidelines. Canberra: NHMRC; 2007; Available from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/nh56.pdf.