How Autism and OCD can affect lottery play
Although we know that many children today have various forms of ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, and others have OCD, or Obsessive-compulsive disorder, we tend to forget that autistic and OCD children eventually become autistic and OCD adults. Although some will still need to be cared by parents or other caregivers, most are able to live independent lives through coping mechanisms that help them navigate the world each day, get jobs, find relationships, and live a relatively “normal” type of life. Moreover, as ASD and OCD adults, many play the lottery. However, the way they play the lottery will be different between their respective disorders and with other players.
The difference between OCD and autism is very slim but very hard. Although they share many of the same repetitive behaviours and actions, it’s how they react to them that make the difference. Autistic people tend to struggle in social situations, while people diagnosed only with OCD do not. For instance, someone diagnosed with OCD may be ashamed or embarrassed of their actions, while someone with Autism is not as affected by what other people think. Therefore, a person with OCD buying tickets from a retail seller might find that requesting a specific type of ticket or generation of numbers a bit embarrassing, especially if other people are waiting in line. However, they will only buy the tickets if their requests are accepted. And they have no problem making their request known, even if it causes them to look or feel foolish. An autistic person may need to buy tickets in a similar type of way, but will not request it from the seller. They will only fill out the ticket selection slip and hand it over, trying not to make eye contact, but not be embarrassed one bit in possibly holding up the line.
Players with OCD know that they have the disorder and are aware of the actions they perform when purchasing tickets or checking tickets. They may need to have certain game tickets printed first or have to have the tickets printed at the same terminal. They may need to go over the ticket numbers several times to make sure the tickets were printed correctly. They may require the retailer to check each ticket two or three times to make sure it actually is a winner or not. They may even need to have the same sets of numbers printed twice or three times on a ticket. They can’t fight their obsessive compulsions and they are highly aware of that.
Players with autism are unaware of their disorder even though they may know they have it. Their actions are not compulsive or obsessive but are automatic based on communications and social hindrances. They may have some compulsion to play certain numbers, but are more concerned about the actual purchase. They just want to get it done and get out of the store or mall. And if the lineup is long and they have to wait, or the retailer is asking a lot of questions, this disrupts the Autistic’s routine and, with this type of stimulus, may cause them to go into an Autistic “meltdown,” a combination of anger, frustration, anxiety, and the need to get away, be alone, and calm down.
Autistic and OCD people have unique perspectives and issues when buying tickets and playing the lottery. Their conditions may affect both the numbers they select or the games they play, or even what day of the week they buy their tickets. But for all the issues these two groups go through, neither condition with give them any advantage or disadvantage over the odds or the probability of winning a prize. They play the lottery for the same reasons others do. They just need to play it a little differently.