Suicide & Problem Gambling

Suicide & Problem Gambling

September 6, 2016

When people think about dangerous addictions, they immediately turn to heroin, cocaine, bath salts or other hard drugs. And while those drugs definitely carry with them an extreme degree of risk, when it comes to addiction there is another player in the lethality category.


If you are like most people, this is the point where you are probably confused.


It is reported that 1 in 5 compulsive gamblers will attempt suicide and a much higher percentage has suicidal ideations.

When you drink too much or take drugs, your body tells you something is wrong. You may get sick or pass out or fall and injure yourself. This is your body’s way of sending you a message. When you gamble excessively, there is no message sent and there is no overdose level or point of saturation.

You may be asking why are gamblers more prone to suicide? Mental health disorders such as depression may be a cause, the guilt and shame associated with the addiction,  the feeling of hopelessness and that there is no way out of the hole they have gotten themselves into, and the fact that this addiction can remain hidden from even those closest to the gambler until the roof caves in.

Serious financial problems can send people into an unhealthy state of mind. The average amount of debt among callers to the 888-ADMIT-IT Helpline is $50,000.  The financial devastation and the fact that the gambler may feel like they are a burden to others can push them over the edge.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is not an epidemic that is unique to the addiction world either. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 42,700 people die annually by taking their own lives, which rounds out to 117 people a day. White males account for 70% of suicide.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Suicide Prevention Week is about raising awareness and educating people about this quiet epidemic that is inflicting our nation. Think about this in number in scale. Since 2001, 6,251 American troops have died in combat. In 2015 alone, over 45,000 people committed suicide. We can all do our part. Talk about suicide with your family and friends. Share interesting articles on social media. If you are worried about a friend or family member, ask them how they are feeling. If you are truly worried and think they are at high risk, give them resources so they know where help is. Should you want to become more involved, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. And lastly, if gambling is a problem for you or someone you love, give our helpline a call 888-ADMIT-IT. We can connect you with a variety of free resources that can help you.

About the Author

Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling