One of the trendiest gambling joints of the modern age is not located in Las Vegas or Macau or Monte Carlo – it can be found in most houses, offices and pockets or purses – Cryptocurrency Trading.
In the 21st century, anyone can place bets on horse races, sports, or the stock market from the comfort of their home or smart phone. Betting on the stock market, including day trading, is not always viewed as gambling because the popular perception is that people involved in finance have professionalism and prestige.
Investing and day trading is now highly popular, and brokerages are in non-stop competition, constantly trying to recruit new customers, making it easier and cheaper to access Wall Street and stock exchanges than ever before.
However, the stock market is not quite as attractive as the new kid on the block – Bitcoin. Launched in 2009, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to take over the world. Now in 2018, there are 1,384 different cryptocurrencies and the market is constantly growing. Between ten and 30 millions now use cryptocurrency, either for speculative investments, or business and personal use.
Cryptocurrency is considered a very volatile and dangerous investment but promises of quick riches and thousands of “success stories” have attracted those who have little idea of what they’re doing. Essentially, they’re gambling in a game that has high stakes and high risk, and they may not be aware of it.
What is a gambling addiction?
Gambling is a behavioural addiction, also known as a process addiction. Behavioural addictions can affect anyone and are just as dangerous, if not more, than an alcohol and drug addiction.
People who gamble for entertainment know that they are playing a game of change and they might win, but they’re also equally as, or more likely to lose.
People with gambling addiction think differently – they have an altered perception that they can predict chance. That if they lost ten poker hands in a row, they will absolutely win the next one. They may wake up one day feeling “lucky” or that they deserve to win.
Gambling addiction quickly becomes an obsession where the concept of the “big win” overtakes day-to-day life responsibilities. People will spend more and more time, and more and more money, betting their lives away. They will lie about their actives and losses, and may even be in denial with themselves about their actions. Eventually, the gambling addict may lose friends, family, jobs, and their home.
Why do people get addicted to cryptocurrencies?
It is not unheard of people buying cryptocurrencies without knowing what they’re doing, all because of a friend of family member said promised they’d get rich quick.
The glamorisation by social media and endless headlines of crypto-trading success stories continuously feed the hype around it. Because cryptocurrency is so volatile, fear of missing out (FOMO), plays a large part in people getting involved. Thus, even those who are hesitant about it because they are not adequately educated in investing, might jump in on the action before they are ready.
Meanwhile those who are already involved find themselves continuously checking the prices because a highly-volatile investment can go up (or down) in minutes.
The prestige surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies makes people to be unaware that they are gambling. In fact, neither them nor the people around them may realise they have a problem. And where there is gambling, there is opportunity for addiction.
These days everyone has a computer and most people have a credit card, so anyone can buy cryptocurrency, as it is largely unregulated. Unlike a casino, where the managers can escort a person off the premises as they see fit, no one can kick a person out of their own home or tell them how much to spend, so long as the bills are paid and the credit card is not maxed out. Unfortunately, today’s availability of loans and credit cards can result in people going deeper down the rabbit hole before they come to their senses.
What are the signs of cryptocurrency addiction?
It is easy to get addicted to cryptocurrency trading; it isn’t so easy to recover from addiction when the problem gets severe. Recognising the signs of addiction can help prevent long-lasting damage to a person’s well-being, social life and finances.
Becoming preoccupied with the price and value of the cryptocurrency is one of the first warning signs of a possible addiction. A person ends up constantly thinking about their trading strategy or checking the prices and worrying about how much money they’re losing (or making). If distracted from the cryptocurrency, the person will feel anxious and irritable.
Preoccupation also leads one to ultimately start neglecting other needs in their lives. Constantly sitting at a computer may mean that the person isn’t getting proper food or physical activity. A cryptocurrency addict may also skimp on sleep. Prioritising their trading over their friends or family can wreak havoc on social lives. The same goes for work and general life responsibilities.
One trait common to most gambling addicts, as well as those addicts to cryptocurrency, is having unrealistic views and goals. A person with a gambling addiction may feel “lucky” one day and go into a casino expecting to leave a millionaire. A person with a cryptocurrency addiction may dump all their life savings on a bet that Bitcoin will triple by the days end, merely on speculation.
Shining a light on the problem of Cryptocurrency Trading Addiction
The dangers of cryptocurrencies have been discussed since their inception, but only recently have official rules and regulations appeared in the spotlight. The South Korean government is the first in the world to propose restrictions on cryptocurrency trading. China has followed in the footsteps and now blocks all crypto-related websites.
Cryptocurrency has also been a growing concern at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, especially since multiple companies have been working on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency ETFs (exchange traded funds). Because cryptocurrencies can only be bought with a specialised digital wallet while ETFs can be purchased via almost any brokerage, the SEC worries having crypto-ETFs will make cryptocurrency even more easy to buy.
Due to serious concern from the SEC about price volatility and general accessibility by the general public, previous attempt to launch such a fund have been unsuccessful. However, a recent filing form the companies VanEck and SolidX, show their persistence at trying again. However, this time, in response to the SEC’s concerns, the two companies aim to set the share price at $200,000 in order to limit access to institutional investors, instead of the general public.
While implementing laws and regulations can help alleviate the problem in the future, what can be done about the crypto-addiction issue right now? Even though cryptocurrency has been around less than a decade, there are already plenty of people in the world with a cryptocurrency addiction problem, and not enough is being done about it.
Castle Craig – A UK Addiction Treatment Centre and it’s approach to Bitcoin Addiction
Just recently Castle Craig Hospital publicly opened its doors to the cryptocurrency-addicted, making Castle Craig the first residential rehab centre in the world to do so.
Chris Burn, a therapist at Castle Craig declared, “we now welcome people with cryptocurrency addiction,” in a recent blog post, adding that cryptocurrency patients will be treated for a gambling addiction.
The treatment process involves a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) approach with individual and group meetings, and a 12-step based programme, used by fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.
In addition to being a world-renowned rehab for alcohol and drug addiction, Castle Craig also helps plenty of people with gambling addictions. Dr. Margaret and Peter McCann have opened the hospital because of their passion for helping people, and welcoming those with cryptocurrency addiction is their way of recognising the problems of the modern age and leaving no one behind.
Contact us for more information and help with Cryptocurrency addiction.