Scotland-based Castle Craig Hospital has begun offering treatment to patients that are diagnosed with addiction to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.
Much like other risky behaviors such as gambling, the clinic believes that crypto-trading can become a form of behavioral addiction, leaving investors hooked on their portfolio apps to track the minute-by-minute fluctuations of market prices across various exchanges. Due to the risk-related similarities, Castle Craig’s treatment program for cryptocurrency is more akin to a gambling treatment program, instead of a substance abuse program.
A gambling therapist for Castle Craig Hospital told the Evening Standard:
"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."
Former cocaine and gambling addict Tony Marini, who now works for Castle Craig as a therapist, explains that “introducing life structure is key” to successful treatment, adding the following insight into how investors may become addicted to cryptocurrency trading:
"I see cryptocurrency trading as a way for people to escape from themselves, into another world, because they don't like the world they're in. The first stage of treatment is to join other addicts in group therapy and share their life stories. This helps them identify with each other and realize that they're not alone."
2017’s bull market lead to extreme rushes of euphoria as a result of investor’s newly found wealth, tied to releases of key neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine that can control behavior and cause addictive tendencies. The bitcoin bubble popping has left many investors chasing their next “high,” hoping for the next rally to begin, causing them to monitor their portfolio tracking apps in a compulsive manner.