As the cryptocurrency industry expands and digital currencies become more adopted as an alternative to traditional assets, crypto trading has proven so addictive to some people that they are forced to seek help.
Indeed, rehab centers where people can seek treatment for addictions like alcohol and gambling are well-known, and recently these facilities have seen an uptick of individuals seeking help controlling their crypto trading, as per the Bloomberg Crypto podcast published on June 21.
The podcast’s host Stacy-Marie Ishmael discussed with reporters Claire Ballentine and Charlie Wells whether crypto addiction was a real concern and whether the centers treating this type of addiction were indeed legitimate.
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From temptation to desperation
According to Wells, people are checking into these centers because they’re finding it hard to control their crypto trading activities, with some facilities charging a lot of money for their services.
He briefly mentioned a rehab center in Switzerland that is charging $9,000 per week to treat people who may have cryptocurrency addictions. Such institutions can also be found in Scotland, Maryland, U.S., as well as online.
Defining crypto addiction is difficult, as there isn’t a single telltale sign of being addicted to crypto. However, Wells spoke with one self-proclaimed crypto addict who didn’t go to a rehab center but has described the harmful effects that crypto trading had on his regular life.
For instance, he was trading as soon as he got up in the morning, instead of playing with his child, and as a religious person, he started shirking his religious duties. It seemed he couldn’t control his behavior and wanted that to change. According to Wells, this aligns with what some of the experts they spoke with said could potentially be a cryptocurrency addiction.
He also spoke with a person treated in a rehab center in Scotland. He would start out with a small amount of money, bring it up to $100,000 worth of a crypto asset, and then he’d lose it again. This made him realize that he might not actually want the money but was just “doing it for the thrill.”
No official recognition
Although there isn’t an official designation of crypto addiction in the DSM-5 manual for assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders, researchers have said that it aligns with gambling disorder – recently added to the DSM-5 manual.
As it happens, the clinics that Wells reached out to do have licensed therapists who treat crypto addiction using methods similar to those used to treat gambling addiction and other well-known addictions.
In terms of how people end up addicted to crypto, Ballentine said the market was widely advertised and very easy to stumble into, and that the increase in crypto trading was partially influenced by boredom during the pandemic, providing a sense of excitement and community involvement with it.
For some of these people, the thrill and belonging provided by their crypto trading activities have spiraled out of control, forcing them to quit ‘cold-turkey’ or even seek outside help in centers claiming to treat this kind of addiction.