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Two of a Kind: Is There a Link Between Problem Gamblers & Suicide?

Problem gambling, more often than not, is a hidden mental health disorder — unless an individual is open about their behaviors or wishes to seek treatment, it can fly under the radar to loved ones and even the gambler themselves. A gambling problem may be kept behind closed doors, leading the affected to feel increasing isolation and loneliness, and far away from any solution that addresses their substantial debt, ongoing temptation, or debilitating lifestyle choices. For many, suicide may appear to be the only way out.

Someone striving for recovery ought to be commended; yet even those who are seeking treatment may be susceptible to suicidal thoughts. While there may exist a link between gamblers and suicide, circumstances vary — significant financial burdens, estrangement from family, feelings of helplessness, and other predicaments can all contribute to varying degrees. By understanding different factors and how they are associated with suicide, we can better help those close to us that may be losing hope.

Gambling-Related Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts

Let’s take a look at what studies, trends, and findings reveal about gambling and suicide:

The Link Between Comorbid Disorders and Suicide

It’s critical to understand that someone with problem gambling is often also battling other mental health disorders — and possibly suicidal ideation. Of those who grapple with problem gambling, 

40% also struggle with an anxiety disorder, 50% have a mood disorder, and 60% are diagnosed with a personality disorder.

Of the 60% struggling with problem gambling and comorbid mental health disorders, 17% have completed suicide. Problem gamblers are nearly 2.5x more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. The individuals need professional help — and fortunately, we can provide the resources to get it.

CCGNJ Has Resources for a Better Life

If you or someone you know faces problem gambling and suicidal tendencies, rest assured CCGNJ has resources available for support, treatment, and hope. For more information, New Jersey residents can call or text our hotline, 800-GAMBLER, at any time.


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