Addiction to crypto trading recognized by some caregivers
Our colleagues from Bloomberg interviewed several therapists specializing in addiction treatment in cryptocurrency trading. Health experts claim that this addiction is close to gambling addiction. Dylan Kerr, an online therapist based in Thailand, compares the addiction to trading to the fact of being seated at a table of a casino:
“It seems endless, and it demands your attention. If you take your eyes off the price, you could miss massive opportunities and incur penalties.”
Interviewed by the Washington Post, Lia Nower, director of gambling studies at Rutgers University in the United States, rather compares excessive trading to lottery tickets. For her, this addiction hides above all an dependence on risk:
“People love lottery scratch tickets, because they can scratch crazy and they get their reward in a second and it gives them a dopamine boost”.
Like gambling, drugs or alcohol, crypto-asset trading activates dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine causes a feeling of pleasure and well-being. The person then risks continuing to trade cryptocurrencies only to feel the benefits of dopamine. This is the gear that leads to the installation of an addiction.
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Cryptocurrency trading addicts are on the rise
Unsurprisingly, the addiction to trading has negative impact on mental health. According to a Finnish study published last January, individuals who have developed an addiction suffer from “psychological distress, stress and loneliness”.
Many therapists claim to have noticed an increase in patients who consult for a problem of addiction to crypto-trading. Aaron Sternlicht, a therapist in New York, assures that there is “an influx of people seeking help” on the subject.
Requests relating to crypto-asset trading have increased by 40% at his firm, assures the American therapist. Unfortunately, “many people who need treatment will not end up getting treatment”, underlines the caregiver. This dependency is not not yet recognized by insurance. Only individuals with high incomes can therefore afford therapy.
Therapies devoted to addiction to trading are particularly expensive, reveals the Washington Post investigation. For example, Aaron Sternlicht charges 2500 dollars for a consultation on the subject. A 45-day intensive therapeutic treatment plan is sold for $25,000.
Private clinics offer expensive therapies
Some private clinics have also developed similar offers for the wealthiest patients. This is the case of Paracelsus Recoverya luxury rehab center located in Zurich and London.
The clinic offers online therapy sessions at 484 euros per hour, a 7-day detox program at 96,000 euros and a one-month residential treatment at 348,000 euros. According to Jan Gerber, the head of the private clinic, inquiries about therapy focused on cryptocurrency trading have increased by 300% between 2018 and 2021.
Same story in Scotland, where Castle Craig luxury clinic claims to have treated over 100 cryptocurrency trading addicts since 2016. The facility’s therapist has developed a 12-step healing process similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Despite the increase in cases, Aaron Sternlicht specifies that there is “not enough research yet” on the subject so that patients are correctly diagnosed. Very often, individuals who claim to be addicted to trading have developed more traditional addictions to alcohol, drugs or medication at the same time.
The Finnish study mentioned above also hypothesizes that people “with existing mental health issues would be more likely to take risks” with cryptocurrencies. Concretely, excessive trading would be rather one of the symptoms of psychological suffering already existing.
👉 Read also: Bitcoin (BTC) investors have psychopathic traits, study finds
Sources: Bloomberg, Washington Post, Science Direct
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