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Study: 56% of GambleAware treatment service participants say wellbeing improved

| By Berta Puignou
A majority of people affected by gambling harm significantly improved their wellbeing and reduced their gambling behaviour after six appointments with the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS), according to a study commissioned by GambleAware.

In the study, 14,500 qualifying referrals and 95,000 attended appointments were analysed.

Results showed that treatment length translated into improvements in the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). For example, behaviours such as chasing losses diminished severely in the first three appointments before levelling out.

Overall 77% of problem gamblers who completed treatment showed significant clinical improvement in their gambling practices and 56% displayed improvement in their wellbeing when finishing their treatment.

New insights also revealed that people experiencing problem gambling who completed their treatment were “78% more likely” to have a positive clinical change in both gambling behaviours and general wellbeing than those who dropped out from treatment.

The report also revealed a series of other insights. For example, 81% of those who were analysed completed their treatment, which on average is made up of 6.6 sessions spanning an average of 12 weeks. In addition, the analysis showed that significant differences in improvement from clinical treatment were noticed at weeks 14 and 11, for wellbeing and gambling behaviours respectively.

Making a difference against gambling harm

GambleAware has shared in previous communications that awareness for the NGTS continues to grow and has shared its future intentions of offering more and improved treatment services.

“We know the National Gambling Treatment Service makes a real difference to service users and we’ve already seen how its user-led approach can a have a positive impact on the lives of people experiencing gambling harms across Britain,” said Anna Hargrave, chief commissioning officer at Gamble Aware.

“However, it is encouraging to see new findings highlighting how fast improvement can happen. These novel insights into the potential optimum range of appointments, and the importance of supporting users to not miss sessions and completing treatment, will help make the service even more effective. This could mean more people are helped and more quickly.”

NGTS gambling treatment services are available to people experiencing different forms of gambling-related harm. Of the overall group taking part in the treatment service, 84% were male. The data showed that 15% were people who are indirectly affected by another person’s gambling. This group was mainly female.

“These findings add to the growing body of research highlighting the efficacy of the National Gambling Treatment Service,” said Ben Hickman, one of the report’s authors. “The assessment and treatment of problem gambling is a relatively new field, with depressingly expanding demand, and it is important for us to continuously challenge our own assumptions about what works.”

The NGTS wants to improve the data they collect and the way it is collected. “We must be open to challenging the way that we have done things while being realistic that, for those on the frontline, data is secondary to their role of helping people improve their lives. We hope this report goes some way towards moving the conversation forwards,” said Hickman.

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