Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Gamblers and Substance Abusers Share Traits

Researchers Find Similar Personalities for Problem Gamblers and Substance Abusers

WebMD Health News

July 5, 2005 -- People with gambling and substance abuse problems may share similar personalities, a new study shows.

Researchers found that problem gamblers display many similar personality traits, such as rebelliousness, anger, and being a risk taker, with people who abuse alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine.

They say certain shared personality traits may help explain why problem gambling and substance abuse often go together. The findings may lead to better treatments for these problems.

What Makes an Addictive Personality?

In the study, which appears in the July issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers analyzed personality assessments of nearly 1,000 18-year-old men and women from Dunedin, New Zealand, some of whom were diagnosed with problem gambling, alcohol, marijuana, or nicotine use by the time they were 21.

First, researchers examined the associations between problem gambling and each of the three substance-abuse disorders. Then they compared 10 basic personality variations among people in each disorder group to those who did not develop gambling or substance abuse problems.

The personality profile associated with problem gambling was very similar to that associated with other substance-related addictive disorders, they write.

They found that people with problem gambling in the past year were three times as likely to have one of the three substance-abuse disorders. Researchers say the magnitude of this association is nearly as strong as the well-established association between alcohol and nicotine dependence.

The study also showed that young adults with gambling problems were more likely to score higher on personality measures of negative emotions and impulsive and risk-taking behavior at age 18 than others.

Negative emotional traits included nervousness or worry, anger or aggressiveness, and feeling mistreated or victimized.

Researchers say focusing on these basic personality traits may be a promising approach to understanding why people often suffer from both gambling and substance-abuse problems.

Taken together, the findings raise the possibility that genetically influenced aspects of personality -- especially low behavioral control -- may be partially responsible for the association between problem gambling and addictive disorders, they write.

Today on WebMD

child ignored by parents
Slideshow
prescription pain pills
Article
 
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms
Article
Teen girl huddled outside house
Article
 
Man with glass of scotch
Article
overturned shot glass
Article
 
assortment of medication
Article
Depressed and hurting
Article