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Anger Management Institute

Lottery Fantasy

Script of Lottery Fantasy Syndrome radio interview July 9, 2003 with WBT News Talk radio in Charlotte, NC with Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC 

What happens to draw people to spend their hard-earned money on the Jackpot Lotto?

  • A. Many people are grasping at a last ditch hope to solve their problems and lower stress…. A number of people actually begin to plan what their future will be like – they are spending the money before they buy the tickets- “Lottery Fantasy Syndrome” is a gambling addiction that strikes an estimated 2-4 percent of the population. Clinical Psychologist Doctor Lou Perrott says gambling is linked to high stress levels which can lead to serious health risks. People think “if I win the lottery, my life will be significantly improved, my stress levels will go down.”
    Q. What happens when people actually win?
  • A. Most of the time, people squander the money and are broke within a couple of years. I know someone who quit his job after winning one million dollars. In a year he had spent it and was begging for his job back- but, his boss had hired someone else. When people don’t win they go into a depression.
    Q: But, I spent only 5 dollars on the lotto – does that mean I have Lottery Fantasy Syndrome?
  • A: Most likely not.
    What about someone who spend 20 dollars?
  • A: It depends on how tight their budget is.
    Q: Talk more about the thinking behind this kind of syndrome-
  • A: There are definite cognitive distortions going on or “stinkin’ thinkin’” such as fantasy or magical thinking. We talk about cognitive triggers in What’s Good About Anger? and how such thinking results in anger and depression and negative behavior. “As a man thinketh – so is he.” Some people are convinced they are going to win and when this dream is shattered – and it will be since the odds are so great (in some cases a million to one. In the large lottos a billion to one) – they become depressed.
    These people are characterized not only by grandiose/magical thinking but, by:
    impulsivity, poor problem-solving skills, depression, scheming to get rich quick without hard work, stressful living, poor financial planning and stewardship, etc.
    Q: What are the consequences of putting all your dreams into the lotto basket?
  • A: Your dreams will be shattered. That’s a fact you can count on “a billion or more to one”. First you will have wasted your time planning for an unrealistic future. You will have wasted a lot of hard-earned money. You won’t gain back the money or the time and you may ruin some relationships in the process because of your obsession with the lotto.
    And you won’t be planning how to spend your money wisely or invest it wisely. Instead, you will lose money which you need to live comfortably – money which you have earned, which could pay the bills, provide for your needs, lower your stress and make realistic dreams come true.

    The trouble with looking for a quick-fix to life’s problems is that you don’t learn to process difficulties. You don’t commit to hard-work, character change and long-term goals. A “quick-fix” attitude is a way to gain the control you don’t feel you have in life. When you feel helpless – you get frustrated and angry. Anger can lead to some long-term, negative consequences in relationships and affect work and personality. Why not get the book: What’s Good About Anger? Begin to process you feelings of helplessness and frustration in a healthy and goldly way!

    Read: What can I do to cope with the blues?
    How to Know God Personally, Read inspiring books such as: The Freedom from Depression Workbook by Les Carter, Frank Minirth or Keep Believing: God in the Midst of Our Deepest Struggles by Ray Pritchard    or check out the selection of books on CounselCare Connection’s resources page. 

Lynette J. Hoy, is a Marriage and Family counselor, speaker, writer and the Chicagoland Chair of Community and Business Women for Christ (see: www.cbwc.net ). Order her newly released book, What’s Good About Anger? . Contact Lynette at: counselor@hoyweb.com or at 630-368-1880.


Contact the Anger Management Institute at: 630-368-1880
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