Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

Initial thoughts on viewing pathological gambling from a physiological and intrapsychic structural perspective

  • Loreen J. Rugle


This paper is an effort to integrate the contributions of various theoretical orientations in psychology, psychiatry, and neuropsychology into a framework that facilitates the understanding and treatment of pathological gambling. It is the belief of the author that pathological gamblers in particular and perhaps addicted individuals in general lack elements in basic internal structures. Such deficits may involve a biological vulnerability as well as learned dysfunction that result in gaps in identity and ego constructs along with inadequate cognitive and emotional frameworks. Such structures make it difficult for individuals to manage many aspects of life, particularly negative affect, interpersonal relationships, intimacy, and behavioral consistency. The role of treatment begins with evaluation of existing internal structures in order to determine which are dysfunctional. Therapeutic interventions subsequently would be designed to assist patients in constructing more solid structural foundations on which they can build realistic and effective coping patterns and integrated identities. The relevance of a twelve step program in accomplishing therapeutic goals is also discussed.


Negative Affect Therapeutic Intervention Internal Structure Structural Foundation Interpersonal Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loreen J. Rugle
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Service 116B(B)Brecksville DVAMCBrecksville

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