Academic journal article Alcoholism and Psychiatry Research

Personality of Alcoholics and Gamblers in the Union of Clubs of Treated Alcoholics and Gamblers

Academic journal article Alcoholism and Psychiatry Research

Personality of Alcoholics and Gamblers in the Union of Clubs of Treated Alcoholics and Gamblers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Knowing the individual personality features of pathologic gamblers and alcoholics is a necessary condition for quality clinical practice and psychotherapeutuc work, considering the fact that most people occasionally play games of chance and belong to the social consumers of alcoholic drinks, but only a smaller percent of them develop serious problems and addiction to them. The influence of individual personality differences to behaviour is much more pronounced in the period of adolescence. From the research done so far, it is known that there are various combinations of personality features that may form the dimensions which increase the risk of addictive behaviour [1].

Speaking about the personality of an alcoholic, we can find many efforts in scientific literature to search for what may be called 'pre-alcoholic' or 'alcoholic' personality. However, we cannot yet surely say that a certain trait or a feature, oe even a group of traits and features represents a firm indication that someone would develop the addiction to alcohol. However, the results of application of psychodiagnostic tests mostly show that the personality features more frequently observed in alcoholics are: schyzoid character, masochistic reactions, passivity, lack of ego organization, ambivalence and lack of clear concept of self. They show that certain personality features are slightly more often observed among the alcoholics, thus supporting the thesis that there is no unique group of personality features that can be related only to alcoholics [2].

We can not even find a comprehensive definition of alcoholism, just as we can not find the unique classification of alcoholism and the unique approach to etiology of it. The World Health Organisation defines alcoholism through the definition of a 'chronic alcoholic'. According to them, 'a chronic alcoholic is a person who had excessively used alcoholic drinks, thus developing a psychological or a physical dependence to alcohol, and displaying such mental disturbance or behavioral disturbances that indicate damage to physical or mental health, or damage to their relation to other people and their economical status' [3].

Hudolin has, for practical reasons, in his definition, stated that 'the symptoms forementioned have to be determined by means of classical medical and social diagnostic procedures. It should not be just supposed, after acquiring the data on excessive drinking, that a person suffers from chronic alcoholism." [4-5] Jelinek has made a bit broader definition of alcoholism as "every need for alcoholic drinks that causes damage to a person, social damage, or both' [5].

According to DSM-V diagnostic criteria, persistent and recurrent problematic gambling, that leads towards clinically significant damage or suffering, is manifested so that a person displays four (or more) of the following in a 12-months period: has need for gamblnig on increasingly greater sums of money to achieve the wanted excitement, uneasyness and irritability when trying to reduce or stop gambling, repeated unsuccessful efforts of gaining control over gambling or reducing or stopping gambling, is frequently preoccupied with gambling (for example, keeps thinking about the gambling experiences in the past, plays for handicap or plans the future efforts, thinks about the ways how to get money for gambling), often gambles when feeling bad (for example helpless, guilty, anxious, depressive), often comes back to get back his money the next day after he loses it gambling ('chases' his own debts), lies to hide the extent of his involvement with gambling, jeopardizes or loses an important relationship, job, educational or bussiness solution because of gambling, relies on others to obtan the money to alleviate the desperate financial situation caused by gambling [6].

Many studies so far had tried to provide an answer to the question 'which are the personality traits which increase the probability that a person would become a problem gambler'. …

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