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Louis Theroux anorexia and similarities to problem gambling

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#1 Posted on:
Mon, 30/10/2017 - 09:47



I caught a bit of Louis Theroux talking with anorexics yesterday and my head was blown away by similarities to problem gamblers.  I never thought I would associate with someone who has one chocolate per month as a treat and has to do 2000 star jumps per day if they have half a cracker biscuit.  But there was a load of similarities to the problem of gambling that I could relate to.

  • Firstly some used anorexia as an escape from life and all it throws at you. 
  • An escape from your brain telling you that you are not worth it! 
  • It's always there, even in recovery, your brain is telling you that you are not sick and that you can act out.
  • Feeling like a fish out of water when you are not in action. 
  • The almost split personality - part of you wants to gamble/be anorexic and part of you wants to get better. 


I'm 228 days off gambling and still thinking about gambling nearly every day.  It's a pain in the ****. Admittedly we are not destroying out bodies with malnutrition, but it's still destructive behaviour.

What do you think? 


Posted on:
Mon, 30/10/2017 - 20:22



Hi tulsit firstly congratulations on 228 days bet free. 

I’m pretty sure all mental disorders have the same characteristics. All will effect a person in a different way.  Addiction at the very least stems from some sort of mental disorder.

Depression you will see a lot on the forum. Anxiety including social anxiety. OCD. Not a lot of people will talk about mental disorders as it carry’s the big stigmata.  They don’t want to believe they’re ill.  Addiction makes the illness less prevalent. When you take the addiction away you’re still left with the illness. 

So say you quit gambling you then get depressed or anxious what ever it is for said person. The only way they know how to soothe it is by running back to the addiction and that’s what keeps people in the constant circle of quitting and stopping.

Hopefully that makes some sense?

Posted on:
Tue, 31/10/2017 - 18:47



What I can say here is that compulsive gambling is an addiction and form of mental illness.

It has far more in common with other mental illnesses than just being a bit silly and greedy for money. Its now being put in the same psychological chapter as substance abuse because gambling works in very similar ways on the mind.

Anxiety and depression are firmly linked with gambling just as they are with other mental disorders.

I am stunned by Anorexia because its clearly a very serious mental illness.

In the same way try explaining putting thousands of pounds of essential money into a machine. To a non gambler it seems jaw dropping and crazy. I cant even believe that I did it now. Compulsive gambling has an image problem in that its not as easy to point to an amaciated body or drunken stupor. However compulsive gamblers are killing themselves and it leads to suicide and homelessness on a winter night.

Too many people still treat compulsive gambling as if we are just being silly greedy people who need to grow up. I feel this is how the gambling industry gets away with promoting its legal highs if I can term it that way

With therapy and leaning I realised I did feel worthless and I was both escaping and punishing myself with gambling. There are other emotions in a complex soup of brain chemistry.

Im not sure Anorexia is the first illness I would draw comparisons with but they are both forms of mental illness.

Those that are scared of using the term mental illness to describe compulsive gambling really do need a wake up call. Im not ashamed of it and have learnt a great deal in recovery

Best wishes to everyone on the forum