- Cryptocurrency has been given many faces in the past, but only recently has it been linked with addiction
- Castle Craig, a residential rehab center, has been touted as the world’s first crypto addiction treatment center
- Over the last year, as crypto adoption soared, there has been a tenfold rise in inquiries about crypto rehabilitation
- The volatility of the crypto market has been linked as one of the contributing factors to the growing number of addicts
Cryptocurrency has been touted as a lot of things, including the future of finance, but it had never been associated with anything as extreme as addiction. Behind the headlines of the soaring value of Bitcoin and other cryptos, there has been a rise in crypto addicts.
“Castle Craig Hospital provides treatment for people addicted to trading, spread betting, and the trading of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin.”
According to Castle Craig, a private hospital in Peeblesshire, Scotland, the number of Bitcoin addicts admitted has increased by more than ten times in the past year.
What Is Crypto Addiction?
Initially founded in 1988 as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic, Castle Craig turned to other unconventional addictions like crypto addiction.
The hospital, which touts itself as the world’s first crypto addiction treatment center, defines crypto addiction as the compulsive trading of cryptocurrencies and related activities with resulting negative consequences on a person’s life.
According to the hospital, the condition, which is more common in young adults and teens, especially males, is very similar to a gambling addiction. In addition, crypto addiction can disrupt or damage personal relationships and recreational pursuits.
How Do People Get Addicted to Crypto?
According to Tony Marini, a therapist who works at Castle Craig,
“commonly, people start because they want to buy stuff off the dark web. And the only way to do that is with cryptocurrency.”
Marini adds that most crypto addicts start with occasional trading, and then frequent wins feed dopamine cravings and dreams of earning millions. However, most people seldom see their dreams fulfilled.
Like gambling, crypto addicts try to recover losses by trading more, a feature described as chasing. While chasing that one trade that will cover all their losses, their losses accumulate. More often than not, they end up trading and losing more than they can afford.
The Increasing Number of Crypto Addicts
The crypto industry is growing and evolving at a rapid pace, with more people interested in digital assets than ever before. We reported in August that crypto adoption had skyrocketed by over 880% in one year. Part of its rapid adoption was fuelled by the lockdown isolation.
In addition, although cryptocurrencies have been touted as the possible replacement for traditional finance, most investors back projects because of the possible returns. Marini opines that the effects of crypto addiction are exacerbated by a volatile cryptocurrency market.
We have seen Bitcoin gain and lose more than 10% in a single day, BTC lost as much as 30% in the May market crash. Some traders have made huge wins from these huge price swings of digital assets.
When traders experience such wins or read about other crypto millionaires, it can feed a dopamine craving and drive a cycle of addiction. Marini further explains that severe cases exist where crypto addiction is interwoven with drug and alcohol addictions.
On The Flipside
- The adoption of crypto has been predicted to increase with the entrance of major market holders
- With the likes of PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard racing towards full integration, cryptocurrencies will become more accessible
What Can Be Done?
Like most other addictions, crypto addicts prefer not to talk about their condition. According to Marini, nine out of 50 of his clients were initially referred because of their drug or alcohol addiction. However, their treatment uncovered other addictions, with the most being crypto addiction.
The first stage of managing an addiction is identifying that it exists, as many addicts would rather live in denial. To solve the problem, Castle Craig has created a questionnaire to help diagnose crypto addiction. You can find it here.
After a diagnosis, it is crucial that they seek help and stay away from crypto trading in order to avoid incurring more debts or losses to fuel their addiction.
Why You Should Care?
Crypto trading should not be approached as a get-rich-quick scheme. In addition, the growing interest in crypto addiction and the emerging risks to citizens could serve as a cautionary tale to governments developing cryptocurrency frameworks for the future.