Borderline Personality Disorder

Problem gambling, personality disorders often go hand in hand

In particular, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is found more among people with gambling problems than those who can control their gambling.

Problem gambling, personality disorders often go hand in hand

Gambling and BPD
Gambling and BPD

The treatment of people who cannot keep their gambling habits in check is often complicated because they also tend to suffer from personality disorders. So says Meredith Brown of Monash University in Australia, in a review in Springer’s Journal of Gambling Studies.

Problem gambling creates a multitude of intrapersonal, interpersonal and social difficulties for the roughly 2.3 percent of the population internationally that suffers from this behavior. Previous research posted on online gambling sites at (for example like, 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. While some of these forms of problems can be removed entirely just by changing the environment and enjoying live dealer casino right from the house rather than going among a huge crowd just to gamble, most of them would require a person to get some form of treatment.

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 antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders. In particular, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is found more among people with gambling problems than those who can control their gambling. This personality disorder is associated with unstable interpersonal relationships and self-image, and marked impulsivity.

The review on shows 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. Members of both groups tend to be socially isolated, have problematic relationships with their peers, lower self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness and dissociation. They are also emotionally more vulnerable, and struggle with anger issues and feelings of shame. People with gambling problems, like people suffering from BPD, also tend to be impulsive, revert to interpersonal violence and often commit suicide.



  • Michael Johnson (@TheOtherMJ99)

    Great article. I have BPD and Gambling was my second addiction but first love. For years I convinced myself it was a hobby. I was that gambler that always paid his bills and then every penny went to the dog track or casino. Finally in 2002 I voluntarily banned myself for life. Of course in 2012 they offered a 1x “forgiveness” of the “lifetime” ban. I think the allure combined with a poor identity and the attraction to the big time gamblers were my main triggers.

  • Randi Kreger

    I didn’t read the whole article, but for me this is a, “Well, DUH” kind of study. Problems with gambling are already under the criteria for BPD, albeit grouped with other behaviors like reckless driving and so forth. We have very little money for study on BPD. My question is, of the money we have to study BPD, is this what we want to accomplish? Confirm something we already knew in 1990-something? Also, what does one do with this info? Tell people with BPD not to gamble, or ban those with BPD from gambling? Let’s find out something we don’t already know and that can lead to some sort of meaningful intervention or help for families or something. I vote for dollars to be put in for prevention of BPD.

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