An American has won one of the biggest prizes in his country’s lottery history. An event not necessarily easy to grasp for these big winners in the face of a sudden life change.
Hitting the jackpot, a burden? While a profit of 1.3 billion dollars was won in the USA last week, the idea of winning the lottery initially seems like a stroke of luck. However, such an event turns a life upside down and can lead to questions and changes in loved ones, between “euphoria”, “paranoia” and “existential rupture”.
A “loss of meaning and orientation”
Who doesn’t dream of finding the right numbers? If the announcement is initially “very good news”, it also has “consequences”, warns BFMT Elsa Laurent, psychologist and addiction specialist.
The winner initially feels “a lot of adrenaline” and often experiences “total euphoria”, according to the psychologist. Under the shock of the news, the winners usually go through a period of “pointlessness and disorientation”.
There is a regular “rush”. Winners treat themselves and buy out of envy without considering their usefulness. A dangerous slope, because the psychologist claims to have encountered cases of neo-millionaires who “suddenly liquidate with senseless purchases”, following a kind of “instinct”.
“There’s a feeling of having no boundaries anymore, which is toxic,” she says.
Danger of “social and friendly break”
A very high lottery win not only enables the satisfaction of longings, but also offers the possibility of a sudden change in life, which does not always remain without consequences for family and friends.
Elsa Laurent rightly warns of the risks of “isolation” and “social and amicable fractures,” especially for people from humble backgrounds, for whom change is even more brutal.
“You can find yourself in an anti-rich hate environment that suddenly makes you a target,” she says, referring to possible “jealousy” or the risk of being “judged” by those close to her Wealth sometimes considered undeserved.
This explains why many winners choose not to reveal their new millionaire or billionaire status to those around them.
“A certain paranoia can arise when you get rich. We’re afraid to show it to others because there’s a lot of guilt,” the addiction doctor estimates.
The FDJ offers psychological support
After a while, questions arise. Indeed, the winners experience a kind of “existential rupture”, going so far as suggested by psychoanalyst Pascal Neveu, interviewed on BFMTV.
Getting rich in a short period of time “completely disrupts the issues of desire,” says Elsa Laurent. “Life is essentially about desire and when there is no more lack, where do we go? What do we like?” she develops.
To help winners manage these risks, La Française des Jeux has offered support since 1993. It includes both asset management to avoid sudden ruin or fraud, as well as being able to share the winners with each other and discuss the implications of this life change.
In the United States, winners will not receive the full prize amount immediately. They are either paid out gradually over decades, just to avoid sudden excesses, or they get a much smaller amount straight away.
However, according to the psychoanalyst Pascal Neveu, in France, despite “a few cases of ruin”, “the vast majority were people who had been very moderate” and initially secured their everyday lives and their children.