How Cryptocurrency Trading Can Become A Life-Consuming Addiction

Castle Craig Hospital opened its doors over 30 years ago in Scotland, UK, to treat alcoholism and other forms of behavioral and drug addictions; now offers rehab programs for cryptocurrency addicts.

A 29-year-old on the show, who asked to be identified as Roy and said he was from the Netherlands, explained that he had a history of alcohol and other drug abuse, eventually getting clean in 2017 and finding work as an addiction counselor for almost four years.

But when he discovered crypto in 2021, he said he saw a unique opportunity and invested a couple of thousand dollars in Binance’s BNB token, which turned into $8,000 in two weeks.

“I think the first success basically gave me a sense of control, of power, of unlimited potential because there is no limit to what you can earn,” he said. Forkast In an interview. “It’s an amazing feeling sitting behind your computer screen and just watching that number go up and up and up and up every day. And yeah, that got me pretty hooked,” Roy said.

People seeking help for crypto addiction on Castle Craig are not just isolated cases. UK-based crypto lending and lending platform AAVE launched a rehabilitation program in Zug, Switzerland in 2019 for people addicted to crypto trading. AAVE said in a press release that the mental and physical health of many people is at risk and that it wanted to help the community.

A bet too far

At Castle Craig, compulsive cryptocurrency trading is treated as a form of gambling addiction.

“When you cross that line into [crypto trading] addiction, it is exactly the same as gambling. It’s that constant need to trade or gamble,” said Tony Marini, a senior specialist therapist at Castle Craig, who runs the gambling, gaming and cryptocurrency trading addiction therapy program.

“It doesn’t matter about the money, you know, it’s about making that trade. It’s about making that bet,” Marini said. Forkast In an interview.

The “incredible feeling” Roy refers to is quite familiar to Marini, who speaks of his experience as a former gambling, alcohol and cocaine addict who has been in recovery for 17 years.

“It’s the excitement, the volatility of going up and down and seeing it, that produces the adrenaline, the endorphins, the dopamine my brain says, I really like that,” Marini said. The possibility of wealth gives birth to fantasy and the desire for a better life, and when investors pursue that fantasy, they cross into addiction territory, she said.

See related article: The problems with retail cryptocurrency trading and how to solve them

Lia Nower, professor and director of the Center for Gambling Studies and Addiction Counselor Training (ACT) Program at Rutgers University, says addictive behavior overwhelms other activities.

“When you start to worry about this [crypto trading] more and more on a daily basis, where your thoughts about trading intrude on other life activities, responsibilities,” is a sign of addiction, Nower said. Forkast In an interview.

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Another indicator is “chase,” where investors keep pouring more money into the market in the hope of getting it all back. The most rational traders are cautious, switching to other investments or investing what they can afford to lose, Nower said.

But “a person who is betting on cryptocurrencies will say, ‘Oh my gosh, I lost all this money. There is no other way to return. But cryptocurrencies will take off again. So I’m going to invest more money.’”

That fits the pattern of Roy, who began expanding his investment into meme coins and other cryptocurrencies, and because he entered before last year’s all-time highs, he said he managed to turn $3,000 into around half a million dollars.

Then he lost everything when the market crashed this year, got depressed, went back to using drugs and ended up looking to Castle Craig for help.

See related article: Cryptocurrency Trading Volumes Drop to 18-Month Low Amid Bear Market

Ups and downs

“I just got hooked on the thrill it gave me. I mean, the first $100,000 was crazy. I never knew it was possible to have a way to make money so easily because it’s easy,” said Roy.

“All that money inflated my ego… I thought I was better than anyone. I thought I had made it. Nobody could tell me anything,” he said. But as his investments withered this year, Roy said he became “a shell” of who he was before.

Gambling addictions are viewed in the mental health profession as process addictions, like sex addiction, in which people compulsively follow a certain process or activity.

“And believe it or not, they’re not in it for the money,” said Theo De Vries, CEO of The Diamond, an addiction rehab center in Thailand.

De Vries said a cocaine addict will use up whatever supply they have before thinking about anything else, like getting some rest. “And it’s the same with gambling addicts,” he said.

Gambling addicts aren’t necessarily happy when they keep winning because they’re not doing it for the money, de Vries said. “They are satisfied when all the money is gone because then they have the same feeling as that cocaine addict when the coke is gone and they think, okay, I can finally go to sleep.”

This is why cryptocurrency trading addicts find it difficult to withdraw money, De Vries said. Roy said he didn’t get paid because he saw it as an opportunity to earn enough to be ready for life.

I took that money [profits] and simply spread it across multiple projects. I thought, if I could do this with one project, why not 10 or 20 projects?

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Roy said he thinks he was “lucky” as he only lost unrealized profits, but cryptocurrency trading addicts lose more than just money.

red flags

Addiction becomes the most important thing in your life, de Vries said, damaging work and social life, financial health, and relationships with partners and family members, he added.

Marini at Castle Craig said that substance abuse addictions are easier to spot, but the signs of a gambling or cryptocurrency trading addiction are anxiety, depression and panic attacks when the markets turn on an addict.

Then they start borrowing money, lying and manipulating, which is the downward spiral that can lead to suicidal thoughts, he added. Addicts often become isolated and withdrawn, neglecting personal relationships, social life and work responsibilities, Marini added.

There are “problems with the law, work, family, friends, emotional crises, hopelessness, a lot of self-harm, starting with and obviously secondary addictions and chronic depression,” he said.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in people coming in with some form of cryptocurrency trading that hasn’t been healthy and leads them back to drugs and alcohol or just gambling,” Marini said.


As with all addictions, the first step to recovery for cryptocurrency trading addicts is realizing there is a problem and seeking help, Marini said, adding that it is often family members who detect the problem and seek help while the addict continues to deny it.

Addicts who enter programs like those at Castle Craig go through individual and group therapy sessions to identify underlying issues that may lead to addiction, such as past trauma or depression and other mental health issues.

These underlying issues become the focus of treatment using therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Marini recommends complete abstinence from cryptocurrency trading to avoid relapse, much like substance addiction treatment.

In fact, to avoid becoming addicted to cryptocurrency trading, Marini advises people to simply “sell what you have and don’t do it again.”

However, “cryptocurrency trading is not inherently addictive. So if a random person starts trading, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be hooked,” said Jan Gerber, CEO of Paracelsus Recovery, an addiction treatment center for high net worth individuals based in Zurich, Switzerland. Forkast.

People who need to be careful are those with traumatic experiences, a family history of addiction, depression or those experiencing stress to the point of exhaustion, Gerber said.

They are “more likely to get hooked on these positive chemicals [in the brain like dopamine] of what they get out of the volatility of being really invested in the crypto market and especially when they win.”

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