Castle Craig Hospital in Scotland has begun treating patients reportedly addicted to trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Healthcare experts say that crypto trading can become a behavioral addiction and that addicts in these cases are hooked on monitoring the minute-by-minute fluctuations in the market value of their traded tokens.
The West Linton facility is using techniques found to be successful in treating gambling addictions and applying them to the obsessed crypto-traders in an effort to teach them how to live without trading online.
Hospital gambling therapist Chris Burn said:
“The high risk, fluctuating cryptocurrency market appeals to the problem gambler. It provides excitement and an escape from reality. Bitcoin, for example, has been heavily traded and huge gains and losses were made. It’s a classic bubble situation.”
Tony Marini, another therapist at the hospital, draws on his experience with his own prior addictions to gambling and cocaine to relate to and understand what the addicts are going through and using that as a means of getting through to them, advocating structure and avoiding escapism.
“Having been through it myself, my experience of addiction gives me insight and empathy towards others who have the same problem,” therapist Mr. Marini said.
According to addiction.com, three to five out of every hundred gamblers struggles with addiction to their activities, which may apply to crypto-trading as well. While the majority of people are likely investing and/or speculating with money that they can afford, there have been reports of people losing their homes and savings to crypto-gambling.
When Bitgrail exchange lost millions of dollars worth of Nano, some were more seriously affected than others, with users on Reddit admitting to gambling and losing their college funds. A thread entitled “Anyone else addicted to crypto?” shows many users discussing their inability to trade cryptocurrency without it devolving into an unhealthy habit, complaining of lack of self-control, quality of life, and in some cases commenting on previous drug addictions as well.
Like with anything, trading cryptocurrencies can appeal to people with addictive personalities or those looking to escape, as Marini of Craig Castle Hospital said. Whether the addiction treatment programme will prove to be effective for those struggling with balancing their crypto trading and day-to-day lives, however, remains to be seen.
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