Getting rich quick isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. For lottery winners, having access to more money than they ever dreamed possible can be both a blessing and a curse.
Believe it or not, becoming rich unexpectedly can have some alarming downsides. It is not uncommon for lottery winners to suffer some serious side effects after becoming instantly wealthy.
The collective term for the issues that arise is Sudden Wealth Syndrome. An identity crisis can often develop as a result. Sufferers can feel disconnected from the day-to-day routine that defined who they were before they became wealthy. Going from an everyday grind situation to one of being wealthy sometimes makes people question who they are and where they fit.
Besides the identity crisis, there are other indicators and symptoms that a lottery winner is suffering from Sudden Wealth Syndrome.
Anxiety and Depression
Some people, even those that don’t consider themselves as anxious, can start to suffer from heightened anxiety to point of having panic attacks. Winners will constantly and obsessively worry about the state of their money causing increased stress. This is known as “ticker shock,” where a winner spends a lot of time checking stocks or financial indicators.
Winners also can experience depression. Realizing that money won’t “buy you happiness,” can lead to deepened levels of depression. Some winners agonize over the best way to spend the money to the point where they do nothing with it. Some winners even suffer from insomnia.
Becoming suddenly rich can have some far-reaching effects, most especially in relationships with friends and family. Winners struggle with how to tell their friends and family, and worry about how those people will react to the news.
Some sufferers feel that they can no longer relate to their friends or family. They even become distrustful of them. As a result, sufferers of Sudden Wealth Syndrome quite often feel isolated or will distance themselves, which in turn can lead to even deeper depression.
Some winners can go through intense amounts of guilt. They feel like someone deserves the money more than they do. These thoughts can result in winners questioning their own worth in relation to the amount of money they just won. As a result, they stop enjoying the benefits of the money.
Fear and Paranoia
Winners often fear that somehow they will lose all of their money overnight. Many lottery winners feel that the world is out to get them now that they have money.
Most of these feelings or behaviors, either on their own or together, are normal for many lottery winners and shouldn’t be treated as unnatural. Understanding that they are common emotions or feelings can make them easier to deal with.
Sometimes the solution can be as simple as recognizing that money can’t fix everything, and seeking help when you need it. It is why our SenecaOne Lottery Specialists take the time to help lottery winners understand their options when it comes to accessing and using their lottery prize winnings—developing lasting relationships in the process.