Suicide Risk Assessment
- Can You Do One?
you concerned about a problem gambler in your life and interested in
pursuing a suicide risk assessment? When the topic of suicide
comes up in relation to problem gambling, many people's first response
is "no way, that could never happen." However, I'm told that
rate of suicide for gamblers is the highest amongst all addictions.
I don't know about you, but this was certainly not what I
would have expected.
This was information I received from therapists and doctors
I encountered, and I'm still seeking more specific data on this topic.
Once I do, I will most certainly share it here!
your loved one specifically talks openly and honestly about suicide,
I don't know that it's even possible to do a formal and proper suicide
risk assessment. I expect that some professionals will tell
that they can create an assessment based on the information you
provide, though, for the most part, without talking face-to-face with
someone, I wouldn't deem this approach to be of any value.
are simply far too complex to analyze in this way. It
is not as straightforward a process as answering the questions that are
used to determine if a loved one is a gambler (those are much more
So, what does it really mean for
a loved one to do a suicide risk assessment for a problem gambler?
I personally don't believe that this is possible.
to say, it's certainly not an issue that is easily brushed off, and can
sneak up on people with little to no warning. Why would
compulsive gamblers think of suicide? It seems self-evident,
sometimes reading though the obvious is still a helpful, and even
therapeutic exercise. Consider some of the following
- The sense of loss of control, and impact on one's friends
and family can result in deep depression.
- The downwards emotional spiral that accompanies continually
large financial losses can be emotionally traumatizing.
- Suicide can be seen as a way out to avoid difficult
confrontation with loved ones, or creditors (some of whom may even be
What do you do if you
suspect your loved one may be suicidal?
- It can be seen as a solution to one's financial
issues due to potentially large life insurance payouts. Some
countries, states, or insurance policies in general can
clauses that don't cover suicide, though they often can; knowing your
policy is wise.
you have reason to believe that there's an imminent threat of suicide,
should immediately call 911. This isn't an issue that you can
play games with and "see how it goes." On the contrary, if
it's not an imminent
threat, but something of concern to you, you should consult a
professional, whether you start with your general medical practitioner
or a professional therapist to discuss your concerns.
in mind that there's not much you'll be able to personally do to
control the situation. If someone, particularly an adult,
to do something, whether it's gambling or to harm oneself, they'll find
a way to do it despite any safeguards or controls you try to implement.
Ultimately, it's out of your hands in the long run.
What should you do if
your loved ones threatens to kill themselves during a heated argument?
was instructed by an addiction specialist that if this should happen,
whether I believe it to be a genuine threat or not, I should call 911.
They explained that the onus shouldn't be on me to try to
out whether it's an empty threat in an attempt to control the current
argument/situation, or something they're genuinely considering.
i.e. I'm not able to do a suicide risk assessment.
While I'm sure the laws vary, where I live I was told that if
police come to your home and the person in question threatens to kill
themselves in their presence, they can forcibly detain them for their
own safety. Of course, detainment is not in and of itself a
long term solution to anything. Ultimately they need to Get
Help For Gambling Addiction
If it's an empty threat, this will teach them
that suicide is not something to joke around about, and should be taken
very seriously. After all, it's impossible for a spouse or
one to judge their state of mind, as we are completely unqualified to
do so. If they do it again, call again. If it's
just an attempt at manipulation, this strategy will quickly teach them
that the topic of suicide is not a game to you.
At the end of
the day, you can't really do a real suicide risk assessment, but
rather, you need to rely on what your gambler is telling you in the
moment. Or if you have a general underlying concern, talk
professional as soon as possible.
If things are really out of control, you may consider an Addiction
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