Problem Gamblers With Personality Disorders More Difficult to Treat

By Brent McCluskey 11/26/14

A recent study has linked compulsive gambling to borderline and other personality disorders.

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Gamblers who struggle to control their impulses often suffer from a variety of personality disorders, making their successful treatment and rehabilitation that much more difficult.

Meredith Brown of Monash University in Australia reviewed existing research to explore the link between gambling addicts and personality disorders. Her review, published in Springer’s Journal of Gambling Studies, states those addicted to gambling display traits of antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders.

While each of the aforementioned disorders can certainly add to a gambling addict’s struggle, borderline personality disorder (BPD) may be the biggest culprit for their impulsivity.

Drawing the connection between gambling addiction and personality disorders can help clinicians more accurately determine the best treatment method. For instance, those gambling addicts diagnosed with BPD could recover from their addiction by utilizing dialectical behavior therapy, a therapy with a proven track record for treating BPD.

But clinicians must first be able to recognize which gambling addicts are suffering from personality disorders before they can administer the proper treatment, and Brown believes the best way to do that is through due diligence.

“The fact that problem gambling and high levels of psychopathology often go together indicates a need to undertake routine and systematic screening and assessment of problem gamblers who sign up for treatment,” said Brown. “Because the clinical picture of people with gambling problems who also suffer from personality disorders is more complicated, their successful treatment is also more difficult.”

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.