A new study has found that people with a gambling addiction are 15 times more likely to take their own life.
Academics from Sweden’s Lund University conducted the study, which is thought to be the largest of its kind, and monitored over 2,000 people with gambling problems and found a higher risk of suicide in participants compared to the general population.
The study, which was conducted over an 11-year period, found that suicide rates increased by 19 times among men between the ages of 20 and 49 with a gambling disorder and increased by 15 times among men and women of all ages.
While the study’s authors suggested that it’s likely that more than one factor was involved in the spike of suicide rates, their research still indicates that people with gambling disorders were associated with high rates of suicide.
According to The Guardian, campaigners for gambling addictions later stated that if the same results were applied to the United Kingdom, the study would indicate that around 550 suicide a year involved gambling.
Anders Hakansson, the Professor of Addiction Medicine at Land University and a psychiatrist for a gambling disorder unit, stated that the factors in suicide are complicated but results from his study did indicate that gambling was a key factor.
He said: “To us, it’s not a surprising result based on what we see and hear in the clinical setting. The causes [of suicide] are very likely to be multi-factoral but it’s likely that some will contribute more than others.”
“It’s not difficult to argue that gambling contributes very strongly to suicidal thinking, especially when debts are so severe that suicide becomes part of the solution a person thinks about in that kind of crisis, with the feeling of what you have caused to your family members.”
If you believe you or someone you know may be suffering from a gambling disorder, you can visit our dedicated help and support page for information.