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Health Minister Gan fails to give straight answer on pathological gambling to opposition MP Chen

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The Minister for Health failed to give a straight answer to opposition Member of Parliament’s (MP) question about how many people have been identified with psychological or psychiatric issues related to problem gambling in each year from 2006 to 2015. The Minister is responding to Mr Chen’s question, only provided aggregated figures.

Health Minister is giving a written reply to MP Chen Show Mao said that between 2008 and 2015, the number of patients seen by the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) for suspected gambling disorder each year varies between 168 and 526, averaging 407 over the last five years.

According to the National Addiction Management Service (NAMS) gambling addiction is on the rise in Singapore. The number of people seeking gambling addiction treatment in Singapore at NAMS, the country’s largest addiction treatment centre, has also doubled since 2010.

A newspaper article said that in 2014, NAMS at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) treated 1,700 new patients. This being a a 37 percent jump over the 1,245 new cases seen four years ago in 2010 when NAMS was first set up. The report also said that the the number of new gambling addicts seeking help at NAMS in 2014 has doubled to 526.

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In answering to Mr Chen’s question on what are the most common psychological or psychiatric issues identified among problem gamblers, Mr Gan answered that among patients with pathological gambling treated at NAMS, the top associated psychiatric conditions were adjustment disorders, depression and substance abuse.

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