This is a discussion on Poker Depression within the online poker forums, in the General Poker section; Started as a reply by grew too large.
Clinical depression, poker confidence, motivation, tilt, emotional plays: I'm going to approach this poker issue from a simple,
Clinical depression, poker confidence, motivation, tilt, emotional plays: I'm going to approach this poker issue from a simple, yet sometimes hard to handle, mental health angle at first. Depression and mental health often come with a negative stigma, yet doesn't need to. It's about wanting a well-being and enjoying life, not labels or being weak or broken. Sadly, some of us are wired differently or are sub-optimal emotion-wise, and need a little help to put that smile on, and feel normal most of the time. So here are my suggestions. In no way am I clinically trained; I was just a psych major and studied the subject. So take my good-natured thoughts with a grain of salt. And definitely in no way am I trying to come off as a know-it-all on any subject, as I know I certainly am not one. Pretty lengthy, so sorry in advance. But if it helps so be it.
Physiological approach: Saying that seeing a doctor will help your poker game sounds odd and maybe even ludicrous to some. Yet if you find yourself depressed, it is obvious to me, that you should seek out a solution. Antidepressants may cure all your issues in a kind of one-stop-shop, becoming happier, which breeds positivity, and even alleviating any poker self-confidence issues, as they both likely stem from the same place. A P-doc (Psychiatrist) or regular doc can prescribe them to you. So if you are uncomfortable with seeing a shrink, yet want some help with you constant down feelings, a regular family doctor will even prescribe them.
If you are already on antis, but they don't seem to be working, a genetic make-up test is in order. Both doc and P-doc likely have them right on hand now a days, can easily collect swabs, and send them out for analysis. Most insurances cover initial testing and with positive results on a given a specific med, they are forced to cover even non-generic meds, because you have proven that only a certain name-brand pharmaceutical will work for your personal physiology. Having a tailor-made med also lowers side effect risks.
If you have done both, and your engineered antis are yet failing you, and you are still finding yourself down, negative, and without confidence, I have one last suggestion as my thoughts on a physiological approach. And you can do it by yourself. Buy a "lizard light" as I like to think of them, as we depressed people use the lamp just like reptiles in a terrarium. (full spectrum UV type works best, l believe, yet any UV bulb will work) These are sold even at local hardwares, since people have begun taking this common issue more seriously, and treating their depression. Place it were you are playing or studying poker.
Multiple, large case studies have shown that the majority of people experience an extended depression on some level, at some point in their life. On an intrinsic, often seemingly obvious assumption, most would rightly guess that most cases of depression would occur in the winter months. They even had a term for in back in the day: Cabin Fever. Less light would make anyone sad and even anxious. It is true, yet not merely for the psychological and emotional reasons most would guess comes with less light, living is gloomy surrounds and season of death, comes depression. Their is a physiological aspect. It's is not because you are an emotional person as the ill-informed believe or would have you believe about yourself. Through studying correlating physical data gathered during these depression case studies, it was found that the mass majority of these depression patients held low levels of vitamin D. Thus, it was concluded through empirical study, that patients with depression, most had low levels of vitamin D in their systems. So They raised the levels of vitamin D in these patents' systems and a large portion on the non-extreme cases of depression was cured or alleviated to a great extent.
Getting back to winter, light, and the lizard lamp cure/alleviation of minor depression. Physiologically we are not made to absorb vitamin D on our own without a catalyst in most cases, and we as a species would be very depressed cave dwellers, as vitamin D combats depression when in our system. We are surface dwellers for a reason. It was found that sunlight (UV) allows our bodies to synthesize vitamin D. This ability works on some level in all people, so in the summer months when the sun is abundant, it is enough for most folks. Yet in the winter, the waning sun drops below the UV level of many people's natural filter, and thus our vitamin D levels drop below many people's threshold, and they become depressed as an effect. So for those people, using the lizard light, and a vitamin D supplement should help greatly, and they should be feeling normal again, or at least much better than before treatment. People find they can stop using supplemental items around mid-spring in most cases. D3 supplement works best, as it absorbs easier than a regular D vitamin.
Getting rid of the nagging depression could solve most of sufferers' questions and worries. Motivation, obviously related to depressive mood. Confidence could somewhat be related to depressive mood. Anyone obviously would have problems with all forms of confidence being down and depressed, as confidence is a positive trait. So working on depression proactively and you should even see an improvement in your poker game. Because a positive mindset is a winning mindset.
Quick thought: being in-the-zone in poker. Being able to get into a zone, yet finding it hard to get there from early stages, seems to hold a psychological aspect. Yet before getting to a possible solution, first we have to make sure we have realistic goals. In-the-zone is a quite powerful frame of mind actually. Top professionals seem able to tap into it most often. You very rarely should ever start your sessions in the zone. There is a natural transition from standing to running the majority of time. So naturally it takes something, even something mundane, like winning a kicker-fight, to get the neurons sparking towards the extra-sensory perception of in-the-zone awareness and prowess, where the right play seems to come as slick as silk. You can start there, but if you're luck, you wind up there.
Psychological/Scientific approach: The scientific method strategy of believing in empirical data and evidence strongly combats unwanted, irrational thought processes such, as false confidence issues and even tilt and emotional play-making. It's actually easy for most people once they decide that the universe resolves around math. Strongly religious people sometimes have issues, afraid to delve too deeply into science, for fear of losing faith. But both belief systems can be held simultaneously. Basically you start to believe that math and empirical evidence (proven via multiple tests) can be held as true. It means that you actually understand and believe that stats are true, because of re-achievable data plotting with the same result. 2+2 will always equal 4, as most of us have come to have faith in. Therefore if a villain in the BB's fold to steal states 85%, and it is limped to you in the SB, you should raise with any two cards. Believing in data allows you to fight the emotion side and play based on math. This helps with irrational, negative thoughts which some of us are prone to suffer from, by looking at the data, and allowing statistics help you make calculated decisions. If the data states that you are a winning player over time, then you should believe that fact wholly and realize that no matter what happens this hand, this SNG, the next 4 MTT's, etc, in the long run you are going to make a profit, because you have proven that over time you make winning plays. Once you truly understand and believe in data as gospel, confidence, motivation, and tilt no longer rule your thoughts and emotion.
I hope this helps and wasn't a long read for nothing.
19th June 2017, 4:46 PM
Online Poker at: 888poker
A really nice post. Worth wasting time (y)
19th June 2017, 7:33 PM
Poker at: Poker Stars
Thank you It is great.
20th June 2017, 12:31 AM
Online Poker at: Intertops
Game: Omaha Hi/Lo
A lot of people swear off medicines and refuse to take them, the lizard light is a nice idea. Unless one needs to sleep. Some have a dreadful time sleeping with a lizard light on.
21st June 2017, 9:03 PM
As someone who has dealt with depression for the last several years, I can say I have absolutely seen a correlation between my depression and my poker game. The more depressed I am, the more likely I am to focus on short term trends in the game instead of the long term mathematical approach. I am also more likely to get frustrated and make a big bet with long odds, with the mentality "Either I hit this inside straight draw or I'm done playing, so might as well get all my chips in." Both strategies are extremely unprofitable and frustrating to look back on.
25th June 2017, 2:48 PM
Online Poker at: poker stars
re: Poker & Poker Depression
Depression is an evil that we can all feel, takes us to the bottom of the well, we are isolated for fear of saying hello, family distances, friends disappear, and your world collapses!
I have the utmost respect for these people who suffer from this evil, even if they are good, they are broken and they feel defeated, they say that the world is no longer blue ... , but they are mistaken .. many people who are in depression because of gambling, where they lost everything or what little they had ... Doctors say that depression is the evil of Century, I believe that evil has always existed, only now that we are giving the deed value it deserves, and we give due attention to those who have suffered.
If you are depressed, playing poker is the last thing you should do in the world. Because you must be with your health 100%, otherwise your effect will be contrary and your evil will only increase
25th June 2017, 5:09 PM
Poker at: Poker Stars
For me "poker depression" is a period after a big win, when you couldn't stop at the right moment and got into a period of systematical loose. Happenes sometimes to me and it's better not to play for a while, but there is a question - can you do it?