Gambling disorder and suicide: An overview of the associated co-morbidity and clinical characteristics

Abstract

Context: A high prevalence of suicide and attempted suicide in relation to gambling disorder is in increasing evidence in current scientific data. The objective of this review was to explore if there was a primary correlation between psychiatric co-morbidities and gambling and/or a secondary correlation with suicide acts.

Evidence Acquisition: We performed a critical analysis of the most recent papers in the scientific literature in this regard and report on the most significant findings.

Results: A direct relationship between gambling and suicidality was highlighted in a number of European, American, and Asiatic countries. However, it was not clear whether or not gambling increased the risk of suicidal behavior. Two general trends were noted. The first was that gamblers with extreme gambling behavior incurred economic losses and debts to such an extent that suicidal acts appeared to be the only solution. The second was that suicidal acts by gamblers were precipitated by interpersonal and/or working challenges, in conjunction with personality traits of impulsivity and psychiatric co-morbidities.

Conclusions: A combination of impulsivity, certain psychiatric disorders, and social factors may explain the frequent occurrence of suicidal behavior in gamblers.

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