The ADMH Lab is conducting ongoing research projects examining: (i) the similarities and differences between substance and behavioural addictions, (ii) psychosocial mechanisms of concurrent disorders, (iii) the recovery processes of addictive disorders and addiction substitution, and (iv) the ongoing convergence of gaming-gambling such as loot boxes. Please see below for more information.
Transdiagnostic Mechanisms of Substance and Behavioral Addictions
Are substance and behavioural addictions fundamentally different or are they two sides of the same coin? A main research program in the ADMH Lab is addressing this very question. We examine the shared (and unique) risk factors and psychological processes of substance addictions such as alcohol and cannabis and behavioural addictions such as gambling and video gaming. Our research also extends to emerging behavioural addictions such as compulsive shopping and problematic internet use. Our research aims to develop a treatment that can be effective for both substance and behavioural addictions and enhance the overall capacity for the treatment of substance and behavioural addictions.
Addictions and their Mental Health Comorbidities
Addictions and mental health disorders commonly co-occur. Yet, the treatment of addictions and mental health tends to be separated. Research at the ADMH Lab is examining the clinical characteristics associated with people with co-occurring addictions and mental health difficulties. We are also examining psychological processes that may help to explain the co-occurrence of addictions and mental health, to inform treatment. This research is being conducted in part with collaborations at the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and the Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders Program at the Royal Ottawa.
Addiction Substitution and Recovery
Individuals who recover from one addiction may increase their use and engagement of other addictive behaviours. This is known as addiction substitution. Research in our lab seeks to understand the process of addiction substitution and identify who is likely to engage in addiction substitution. We are also examining the impact of addiction substitution on treatment outcomes. The results of this program of research will be used to incorporate treatment strategies to reduce the risks that individuals will engage in addiction substitution upon recovery from their primary addiction.
The convergence of Gambling and Video Gaming (e.g., Loot Boxes)
Gambling and video games have traditionally been separate activities. Recent advances in technology have begun to blur the lines between gambling and video games. Examples of such ‘convergence’ include loot boxes, eSports betting, skins betting, and social casino games. Our research examines the link between these new activities and problematic gambling and gaming. This research is conducted with a cross-cultural lens with collaborators in Australia, Brazil, Hungary, and Korea.