Four types of compulsive gamblers have been identified in a new study. This is a kind of behaviour that damages and harms personal, family and career-related goals.
Researchers at the University Hospital of Bellvitge (IDIBELL) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) have identified the symptoms of such gamblers as disorganised and emotionally unstable, poorly adapted, suffering from alcohol problems or impulsive.
"We need to use different treatments for each sub-group of pathological gamblers in order to respond to their specific therapeutic difficulties and needs", said Susana Jimenez Murcia, co-author of the study.
The results of the study have shown that it is possible to distinguish four groups of pathological gamblers based on their personality traits and associated psychopathology.
According to the researchers, who studied 1,171 people, types I and II are pathological gamblers who exhibit problems in controlling their responses, "but only type II shows signs of a significant concurrent psychopathology", with high levels of impulsiveness and sensation-seeking.
Four kinds of compulsive gamblers are as follows:
Type I, which could be called 'disorganised and emotionally unstable', is characterised by schizotypal personality traits, high degrees of impulsiveness, alcohol and substance abuse, psychopathological alterations and early onset age.
Type II, which is a schizoid type, exhibits high levels of harm avoidance, social distancing, and alcohol abuse.
Type III is reward-sensitive, and is characterised by high levels of sensation seeking and impulsiveness, although without any psychopathological alterations.
Type IV is a high functioning, globally adapted personality type, without any disorders relating to substance abuse, and no associated psychopathological alterations.
The findings were published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.