The treatment of people who cannot keep their gambling habits in check is often complicated because they also tend to suffer from personality disorders, says a new research.
The study revealed that the same biological and social factors are at play in causing problem gambling and personality disorders.
These include poor parental relationships during childhood, possible abuse, difficulty in controlling emotions, substance abuse, depression and anxiety disorders.
Problem gambling creates a multitude of intra-personal, inter-personal and social difficulties for the roughly 2.3% of the population that suffers from this behaviour internationally, the study found.
"The fact that problem gambling and personality disorders often go together indicates a need to undertake routine and systematic screening and assessment of problem gamblers who sign up for treatment," said Meredith Brown of Monash University in Australia.
Previous research has shown that people with gambling problems suffer from a range of psychiatric disorders affecting their mood, levels of anxiety and their use of substances.
Brown and her colleagues reviewed existing research to establish patterns and factors that link problem gambling and various personality disorders.
They found that people with gambling problems share similar characteristics to people with anti-social, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders.
In particular, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is found more among people with gambling problems.
"They are also emotionally more vulnerable, and struggle with anger issues and feelings of shame. They tend to be impulsive, revert to inter-personal violence and often commit suicide," Brown concluded.
The review appeared in Springer's Journal of Gambling Studies.