While cryptocurrency has no doubt made many investors large sums of money lure of stocks and the guesswork of gambling, it has also led many down the destructive path of crypto addiction, leading to disastrous financial consequences. Cryptocurrency addiction has become prevalent in recent years with clinics like CATCH seeing a sharp rise in this process addiction, especially since the Covid pandemic. But what is cryptocurrency addiction and how can it be treated?

Cryptocurrency Explained

Cryptocurrency is a collection of data designed to work as “digital money” to be used over the internet. This type of digital system doesn’t need to rely on banks in order to verify transactions. Instead of physical money, what you have is a peer-to-peer system that allows anyone anywhere to send and receive payments in the form of digital entries.

What is Day-Trading?

Day-trading is the buying and selling of stocks, shares and other financial instruments within the same day. Day traders (also known as speculators) take advantage of small price moves and constantly monitor changes via the internet.
Some years ago, day trading was only done by financial companies and investment experts. But now, these types of transactions are open to anyone with an internet connection.

Another type of addictive trading is known as Spread Betting. This is when someone makes a bet on a share, currency, or other financial instruments, going up or down. The difference between day trading is that it doesn’t involve actually buying a share (or security), but simply betting on which way the price will go.

What is Cryptocurrency Addiction

Drug addiction and other process addictions often begin as a way for individuals to escape their reality as a result of past trauma, grief or other emotional and mental difficulties. However, once a habit becomes an addiction, it’s often extremely hard to overcome without professional help and support.

The possibility of big financial gains makes cryptocurrency trading especially appealing to many. It provides traders with endless options when it comes to Altcoins and tokens, with people desperately trying to decide which new coin could become the next big thing and investing immediately.

These extreme and unpredictable swings are what make trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies so addictive. Cryptocurrencies can either go up or down, and in these cases, an investor can make huge profits in just a short space of time depending on which position they choose.

When someone makes a large profit trading cryptocurrency, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that make you feel good, are released in the brain. This results in an overwhelming sense of pleasure and euphoria. It is this dopamine rush that traders are seeking through repetitive behaviours and habits.

The lack of regulation around cryptocurrency trading is one of the biggest contributors to cryptocurrency addiction. The market never sleeps, and people often find themselves sitting at a computer screen, observing trends for hours on end. The more profit made, the bigger the dopamine hit. Gradually the stakes get higher the more losses they make, until traders find themselves depositing more and more cash, desperate to gain back what they’ve lost.

Why is Cryptocurrency Addiction On the Rise?

Many people have labelled cryptocurrency addiction “the newest version of gambling addiction”. The number of people now being treated for cryptocurrency addiction is on the rise, a new twist on the old problem of gambling addiction.
The pandemic has seen more people working from home than ever before. Many were furloughed and sat at home bored, lonely and in need of stimulation, turning to cryptocurrency trading in order to pass the time. Soon they found it was an exciting escape from their reality.

The constant availability and access to cryptocurrency trading through smart phones and computers means that those addicted to it never have to “switch off”. Often individuals find themselves constantly thinking about cryptocurrency or staying up all night to track the cost of coins and tokens. The high risk/high reward nature and unpredictability of the cryptocurrency market is what appeals most to the people who engage in risky behaviours such as gambling or substance abuse.

However, another issue that can arise is the crossover into other addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, as thrill-seeking usually leads to more thrill-seeking. Others turn to substances in order to cope with the anxiety of trading, as well as financial loss.

Symptoms of Cryptocurrency Addiction

Cryptocurrency addiction is a behavioural disorder. However, you may notice physical, as well as psychological, signs as a result.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Tiredness due to lack of sleep;
  • General neglect for yourself and those around you;
  • Constantly looking at the numbers;
  • Going through dozens of transactions a day;
  • Social life deteriorates;
  • Transactions become very hard to keep track of;
  • Financial losses and difficulties.

Cryptocurrency Addiction Treatment at CATCH

Given how trading crypto is fairly new, there’s not masses of statistics, or even resources around when it comes to addiction. But there is for investment and gambling, so ideas can be applied laterally.
CATCH Recovery applies a therapeutic-mix of the well-established 12-step approach and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, setting you up with a therapist who understands gambling addiction and the functionalities, temptations and risks of crypto-currency trading.

From a gambling perspective, the real attraction of crypto trading is volatility – which draws gamblers in with massive price swings, meaning that people can get rich very quickly – or lose everything in an instant.
Working with your therapist, as a first step it is important to understand your reasons for trading.

These could be for instance:

  • Escaping from pressure, stress, or boredom;
  • Finding relief from sadness, loneliness, or emptiness;
  • Escaping from abusive relationships;
  • Substituting another addiction – cross addiction;
  • Believing you will make lots of money;
  • Believing the money will magically solve problems;
  • Seeking the high, the thrill and the rush.

Catching Recovery

Recovery starts with you. Beginning your recovery journey might seem daunting, but the specialist team at CATCH is here to support you every step of the way.

Our experts will work with you on the following areas:

  • Motivation to achieve abstinence;
  • Identifying and accepting ‘powerlessness ‘ and the loss of control;
  • Identifying the personal and lifestyle changes to be made;
  • Developing coping strategies;
  • Addressing relapse triggers;
  • Being aware of the risk of moving from one addiction to another.