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What Your Personality Says About Your Gaming Behaviour

Can your personality predict your gaming behaviour? Well, a study recently published by Society for the Study of Addiction found a connection between problem gambling behaviour and personality traits. Essentially, individuals who demonstrate certain types of gaming behaviours and personality factors are at more risk of developing problems with gambling.

What Makes Someone At Risk?

In order to define the type of characteristics of a person that’s at risk of developing a problem with gambling, the five-factor model of personality (aka the Big 5) was used in conjunction with other measuring tools to perform this study. This model has the following personality traits:


According to previous studies, individuals who have trouble coping with negative experiences and don’t know how to manage their emotions in a healthy way were more likely to score higher on neuroticism and score low on conscientiousness. Those individuals where described as pathological gamblers “severe problem gamblers who may need treatment for gambling disorder.”[1]

Other common characteristics but not always found with people who had more serious problems with gambling were:


This was considered important information discovered because it was believed that this data could assist in creating prevention strategies and awareness amongst certain demographics.

Sound familiar?

When it comes to addiction, many individuals who are in recovery will state that they weren’t addicted to drugs or alcohol, they were addicted to how it made them feel. Using helped them escape from reality and numb negative emotions. This sort of logic also describes the personality traits that people who often have problems with gambling. According to this research study, it’s also been proven that “Neuroticism may be linked to gambling problems in that individuals who frequently experience negative emotions gamble in order to alter their mood and to escape from negative emotions. Conscientiousness is assumed to be linked to gambling problems because individuals low in conscientiousness may have difficulties resisting urges, especially during positive or negative mood states.”[2]

Recovery from Problem Gambling

The act of gambling may not be a bad thing. Gambling outside of your means that leads to financial issues is a problem. Not being able to cut back successfully is a bigger problem. That’s why compulsive gambling is often treated the same way drug or alcohol addiction is treated at Bellwood Health Services.

What did this research study reveal? It proved that those that treat compulsive gambling need to look at emotions such as guilt, anger and shame to help an individual work through to identify what causes the person to feel that way, how can they learn positive ways to cope and successfully recover to get their life back on track.  It also told us that these individuals need to learn how to change so that they can live more meaningful and healthy lives.

At Bellwood, there are many life skills taught and motivational coaching strategies used by our counsellors to help clients recover holistically. Meaning, in any of our treatment programs offered through our network of treatment centres across Canada, we use a holistic approach that considers every part of the individual. In addition, each client carries out his or her own unique path towards recovery.

If you know someone who may have a gambling problem, please call us at 1-800-387-6198 or click here for more information about our intensive inpatient problem gambling treatment program.

[1] Geir Scott Brunborg, et al. Problem Gambling and the Five-Factor Model of Personality: A Large Population-Based Study. Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Norway. Society for the Study of Addiction. March 2016.

[2] Geir Scott Brunborg, et al. Problem Gambling and the Five-Factor Model of Personality: A Large Population-Based Study. Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Norway. Society for the Study of Addiction. March 2016.


How Your Fantasy Football League Could Jeopardize Recovery

Fantasy sports sites have been around for a while but the industry has grown dramatically within the last four years. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, in 2011 it had 35.9 million players and now it has over 56 million players in the US and Canada. Accessibility and lack of government regulation are the main reasons why fantasy sports sites have boomed over the last few years and consequently made it so easy for people to get hooked. Most people who participate in fantasy sports play for fun without any money involved with no harm done.  Yet, for people in recovery, these sites can be a new platform for betting online which can dangerously turn into relapse.

Who are at Risk?

Fantasy sports sites can be major triggers for relapse for people in recovery from a gambling addiction. One recovering gambling addict described the discovery of fantasy sports sites as “an alcoholic finding out about a whole new street of bars that he never knew about.” He lost $20,000 in fantasy sports sites and as his life continued to fall apart he began to consider suicide.

Exact figures for how many Canadians are gambling online or have a gambling addiction across the country are difficult to find because it’s an industry that’s unregulated. In addition, people are ashamed and scared to admit they have a gambling addiction. What we do know is that young men, particularly college students and people in recovery are the groups at most risk of developing an online fantasy sports site addiction. According to Matt King, FanDuel’s CFO at the time stated that the fantasy sports site market had peaked in 2009 and in order to change things up, they decided to target millennials, people between the ages of 18 to 35. FanDuel’s strategy was to go mobile; making it faster, easier to sign up, and play 24/7.

How serious is this problem?

The FSTA (Fantasy Sports Trade Association) website reveals that 19% of the Canadian population compared to 14% of the population in the US are fantasy sports site players. A study of people seeking help with their gambling problem revealed that the group with online gambling experiences had the most severe problematic and pathological gambling behaviours.

A major characteristic that really draws people to use these sites is the instantaneous element.  A psychiatric professor from McGill University who operates an international centre to treat gambling addicts described why these sites are attractive to people, “Why wait until the end of the season to see who was going to win? Let’s do it every day.”

The potential to lose huge amounts of money and relapse are just a click away. People no longer need to visit a casino to gamble. “According to the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario, 13-20% of Gamblers Anonymous members have attempted suicide and up to 60% of problem gamblers in inpatient treatment programs have tried or have an idea of how they would commit suicide.” When alcohol or drugs are used in conjunction with gambling, the suicide rate increases. Canadians need to be more educated on what a gambling addiction looks like and what to do when you identify it.

What are the signs of a fantasy sports site addiction?

According to our therapist, Alex St. John, who works in the gambling addiction treatment program at Bellwood, the signs for fantasy sports site addiction are the same as any other gambling addiction.  “It can be difficult for a family member to know if their loved one has a gambling addiction.  Until a crisis happens, a person’s family really hasn’t a clue of what’s been going on.”

Gamblers Anonymous has a 20-Questionnaire to help people identify if they have a gambling problem. If you answer ‘yes’ to 7 or more questions then you may have a gambling addiction:

1.     Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?

2.     Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?

3.     Did gambling affect your reputation?

4.     Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?

5.     Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?

6.     Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?

7.     After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?

8.     After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?

9.     Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?

10.   Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?

11.   Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?

12.   Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?

13.   Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?

14.   Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?

15.   Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?

16.   Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?

17.   Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

18.   Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?

19.   Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?

20.   Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Alex revealed, “If you are in recovery and think you might be relapsing, here are a few questions you should ask yourself”:

What can be done?

If you are concerned about a loved one or yourself, please give us a call. We’ll provide you with support and guidance on how to start putting your life back together again.



TSN: Daily fantasy sports gaming illegal in Canada, trade group says

New York Times Fantasy Sports Site

Toronto Star: Fantasy Sports industry braces for change as legal challenges mount

5 Signs You Might Have a Gambling Problem

What-Is-An-Online-CasinoWhile the signs of a process addiction aren’t much different from those of a substance use disorder, there are some key variations that are important to know. Whether it involves lottery tickets, betting on fantasy sport games, casinos, or online poker, compulsive gambling often has serious negative consequences.  From harmful financial losses such as bankruptcy and homelessness to destroyed relationships with family, friends and colleagues, problem gambling can affect all aspects of your life.  If you think your gambling is getting out of control, read these common symptoms of a gambling addiction:

1. Trying Your Luck

Many people enjoy gambling as a recreational activity. The occasional night at the casino while on holiday or a poker game with friends isn’t a problem for them. But when you find yourself constantly trying your luck, it might be time to look at your habits. You find excuses to remove yourself from family events in order to gamble. Maybe you play online games during working hours, or you can’t pass by a casino without going in. Constantly chasing the next big win, playing another hand and feeling like you can’t stop are signs that you may have a gambling addiction.

2. Hiding

When we feel the need to hide our actions from those we love, it’s usually a sign that we are ashamed of what we’re doing. You feel ashamed of how much time you spend gambling so you go to great lengths to hide it. It means you have to lie about where you spend your time, how much you gamble, your financial situation, and how unhappy this cycle is making you.

3. Constant Thoughts

Is gambling on your mind all day every day? Thinking about gambling when you’re not actually gambling is common with a gambling addiction. Another sign is the instinct to gamble when things aren’t going right. If you have a problem that causes you distress, and your first thought is to gamble to relieve that feeling, it might be time to seek help.

4.  More is Never Enough

Just like a substance use disorder, it seems that you just can’t get enough. No matter how much you spend, or how many hands you play, it never seems to quell the desire for more. Do you place another bet wanting the next jackpot, anticipating the adrenaline? Do you continue to gamble to try and win back what you’ve lost? When you never seem to get your fill, it might be a sign that you have a problem.

5. Negative Emotions

If you do have a gambling addiction, you may experience overwhelming feelings of helplessness, irritability, guilt or anxiety. You may have depression. These negative emotions become especially intense when you try to control or stop your gambling and are unsuccessful.  When gambling moves from a recreational past time to a compulsion, negative emotions tend to grow. If it isn’t fun anymore and makes you feel hopeless and alone, gambling has probably become a negative force in your life.

While all of the signs and symptoms may have left your in a state of despair, there is always hope. Problem gambling can be treated, just like any other addiction. It will take hard work, commitment and some deep self-examination, but you can recover and you don’t have to do it alone.

Bellwood Health Services offers hope and recovery to addicted gamblers through our intensive Problem Gambling Treatment Program. Using a holistic approach that considers every facet of the individual, we address the unique issues of problem gambling – such as guilt, anger and shame- and work to identify the factors that trigger this problem, establish positive behaviours, and create financial and money management strategies.