Public health

Gambling addiction soon deemed a disease

Soon an addiction to gambling will be classified as a disease like alcoholism, Swedish Television News reports. Two percent of the population in Sweden struggle with the addiction, which is about half the proportion of people who suffer from alcoholism.

Before gambling addiction was classified as a type of impulse disorder and information about the disorder was managed by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health.

With the new designation, responsibility for the disease will shift to the Department of Health and Social Services, which means people who suffer from the disease will be entitled to treatment, Anders Tengström, a gambling researcher at the Karolinska Institute, told Swedish Television.

"One hundred years ago alcoholism was considered a moral illness, a character problem that indicated a person was weak. It took decades for the addiction to be classified as a medical condition," he said. "This is the first time gambling addiction is acknowledged as a medical condition."

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