Can trading cryptocurrencies be addictive? Yes, and that’s why there is a facility where people can undergo a sort of detoxification, similar to that of alcohol and drugs. It’s called Castle Craig and it’s also specialising in people addicted to Bitcoin.
The Castle Craig clinic
Castle Craig is a rehabilitation clinic founded in 1988 in Scotland. Over the years it has grown and become a benchmark for its treatment. Today it is present not only near Edinburgh but also in London, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Its focus is on the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions, but people with gambling addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship disorders or eating disorders have also found refuge here.
The clinic is also becoming known for its treatment of those addicted to cryptocurrency trading.
How to recognize Bitcoin addiction
According to Castle Craig, trading addiction should be treated as a kind of ludopathy. Basically, trading addicts are hardcore gamblers.
Symptoms to recognize crypto trading addiction are:
- muscle tension;
- constant monitoring of prices, even at night,
- constantly thinking about crypto even while doing other things.
According to Castle Craig experts, many traders get sick because they think they are investing, but they are actually betting. This is due to the characteristics of the market: thousands of cryptocurrencies to invest in (or bet on, depending on perspective), in a 24-hour trading environment, with a high volatility that plunges the trader into the vortex of speculation.
The technology is also addictive: all it takes is a smartphone to be always ready to enter the market. Social media also play their part, with dedicated channels on various platforms and Telegram or WhatsApp groups giving investment advice.
In addition, explain the clinic, the web is full of stories of people who have made it and got rich with crypto and this brings a desire to emulate.
To identify Bitcoin addiction, the Castle Craig clinic uses special questionnaires and the assistance of specialists. It is up to them to figure out if the patient has gone from being a normal trader to being sick.
Some clues help: sick traders experience their activity as an escape from reality and stress and feel momentarily satisfied with their victories.
People addicted to Bitcoin
According to research conducted by Daniel Craig, crypto trading addicts usually check the price of cryptocurrencies because they fear FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, the worry of losing the best time to make the right buy (or the right sell).
Similar to ludopathy, affected people change their behaviours which become destructive towards their family and their money.
It is something that affects 9 out of 1,000 people although 70 out of 1,000 can become a problem.
More men than women are affected and they are mostly young people.
How the Castle Craig clinic treats Bitcoin addiction
The Castle Craig clinic, as mentioned, treats trading addiction in the same way as gambling addiction. Indeed, it often treats it in combination with other addictions that affect the patient.
One of the treatments is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is a one-hour course in which the therapist makes the patient focus on his or her way of thinking about trading and how to behave. The therapy also involves the use of a diary. Group sessions are also provided.
Before resorting to rehabilitation, however, there are some simple tips that can be put into practice to cure oneself (although nothing can replace the help of a doctor). Here are a few:
- limit time spent with crypto;
- reduce trading time;
- don’t consider trading as the main way to make money;
- engage in other activities.
Taking care of oneself
Therapist Tony Marini explains that the Bitcoin addict, by constantly checking prices and platforms, goes into crisis because he has to make quick decisions, how much to invest, whether to sell, where to do it. A bit like in the stock market:
“For me, [the stock market] is gambling, some people will do it as a business and they can do it as a business, some people will get compulsive about it and lose everything they have”.
For head therapist Jose Pereira:
“It takes your life away from you, you become really obsessed all the time. You start neglecting yourself, neglecting your family, your friends, your other activities, neglecting the joy of life because you are just focused, obsessed. And the compulsion to look and to find out every five minutes, ten minutes, half an hour. It becomes a completely new addiction. Well you need to go to the roots of the problem. One thing is the behavior. You need to put some rules and boundaries on that, to stop it. We start looking at what makes you do that? What are you trying to get from it, what are you avoiding by doing that? So then you go to the root of the problems”.
People who get to this level have to get treated and be willing to do it, not for others but for themselves.