What is cryptocurrency addiction?
Cryptocurrency addiction is the compulsive trading in cryptocurrencies and related activities with resulting negative consequences on a person’s life. Cryptocurrency addiction is a behavioural addiction, similar to gambling addiction, and disrupts or damages personal, family relationships & recreational pursuits. This guide will help you find out more about this modern day epidemic.
How common is cryptocurrency addiction?
Many of us like to place the odd bet or have a flutter on the lottery – but it only becomes a problem for about 9 people in every 1000. However, a further 70 people out of every 1000 participate at risky levels that can become a problem in the future.
Who is most likely to get this type of problem?
Cryptocurrency addiction seems to be more common:
- In men – but this might just be because women trade cryptocurrencies less than men.
- In young adults and teens – but problems of this sort can start at any age. Signs of addiction can start at any time; e.g children as young as 7 may find it extremely difficult to control how much time they spend on their computer games. Older people may also find themselves with too much time on their hands, leading them to find alternative ways to stay busy.
- If someone in your direct family, say one of your parents – is addicted to gambling. This may partly be due to genes; however, this is a behaviour which can also be learnt. e.g- by seeing a parent trading online or being taught to gamble or trade by them.
- In people who work in an environment which promotes this behaviour, such as casinos, betting shops or amusement arcades.
- In certain types of gambling related environments:
- Day trading
- Internet gambling
- Video poker games
- Dice games
- Playing sports for financial gain
- High-risk stocks & shares
- Roulette tables
- If you are a heavy drinker or participate in the use of illegal drugs.
- If you have depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder (manic depression).
Is a cryptocurrency habit a problem for me? Do I have a cryptocurrency addiction problem?
Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each of these 10 questions:
- Do I spend a lot of time thinking about different types of cryptocurrency?
- Am I spending large amounts on cryptocurrency?
- Have I tried to slow down or completely stop cryptocurrency trading – but not been able to?
- Do I become restless or irritable if I try to cut down my screen time related to cryptocurrency?
- Do I jump on the computer and start trading in cryptocurrency to escape from life’s problems or to try to elevate my mood?
- Do I carry on trading in cryptocurrency after losing money – to try to gain it back?
- Have I ever fibbed to other people about how much time or money I spend trading in cryptocurrency? Have I ever taken money unlawfully to fund my cryptocurrency addiction?
- Has my cryptocurrency trading habit had an effect on my relationships or my job?
- Do I try to get other people to lend me money when I have lost on investment?
If you have answered ‘yes’
- Just once – may be a problem – this one thing may be enough of a problem to need help.
- Three times – Addicted to cryptocurrency – your cryptocurrency trading habit probably feels out of control – think about getting help.
- Five or more times – Pathological cryptocurrency addict – your cryptocurrency trading habit is probably affecting every part of your life – seek help.
How do you lose control of your cryptocurrency or online trading habit?
You may trade in cryptocurrency and other currencies:
- to forget about your daily responsibilities;
- to make yourself feel better whenever you feel depressed or sad;
- to kill time when you’re bored (especially if not working);
- when you drink or use drugs;
- when you feel angry with others – or even yourself.
Or, you may even have:
- started trading in currencies early – some people start as young as 13 or 14;
- never been able to control your online gambling or spread betting habit;
- one or both parents who are obsessed with cryptocurrency.
Potential financial hazards associated with cryptocurrency addiction:
Cryptocurrency addicts are more likely than other people to experience the following financial problems:
- Inability to pay utility bills;
- Borrowing money from this close to you such as family friends; even going to loan sharks;
- Accruing more debts;
- Pawning or selling personal possessions;
- Suffering home eviction or repossession;
- Defaults on monthly payments;
- Committing any illegal acts like theft,
- Embezzlement or fraud to finance cryptocurrency acquisitions;
- Total bankruptcy.
Effects of cryptocurrency addiction on family:
Cryptocurrency addicts are more likely than other people to experience the following family problems:
- Becoming preoccupied with cryptocurrency trading so normal family life becomes difficult;
- Constant arguments regarding money and debts;
- Emotional and/or physical abuse,
- Neglecting family members and becoming violent towards his, her, their spouse/partner and/or children;
- Causing relationship problems and possibly even separation or divorce.
Health dangers of addiction to cryptocurrency:
Cryptocurrency addicts are more likely than other people to experience the following physical and mental health problems:
- Low self-esteem;
- feeling constantly worried or suffering from mood swings;
- lack of sleep and a poor appetite;
- substance abuse;
- manic depression;
- in extreme cases, even considered suicide and/ attempted suicide; etc…
Educational work suffers:
- Low school, college or work performance;
- Low attendance rates;
- Complete expulsion or dismissal from education.
Should I stop my addiction to cryptocurrency or try to control it?
The first thing is to decide to get help – you can then work out whether you are ready to stop or just want to control your cryptocurrency spending better. Many people just want to control their cryptocurrency trading, but then decide to stop completely. If you are experiencing serious negative consequences, then you probably need to consider stopping completely.
Steps to reduce your cryptocurrency addiction – helping yourself
Although there is no full substitute for quality professional help, we have listed below some simple and practical measures to help treat an addiction to cryptocurrency:
1. Limit the amount of money you spend on cryptocurrencies
Set a limit from the start on how much you are willing to spend on crypto investments in a session or in a week. Stick to it!
If you use a crypto trading account, ask them to place a limit on it – this helps to curb your spending.
On pay day, you should aim to pay all your priority debts first (rent, food, taxes, etc…)
2. Reduce the amount of time and days that you trade in cryptocurrencies
Set yourself a limit on how many times a week you will trade in cryptocurrencies (e.g. once or twice a week) – be specific and name the days.
Avoid those “I’ll just have a quick look” scenarios.
You can set an alarm to remind you – use your watch or phone – even your laptop or PC has a calendar alert you can use.
3. Don’t view cryptocurrency trading as your primary way of making money
Always remember that you are participating in uncontrollable probabilities.
Be Always prepared to lose your investment – if your chosen cryptocurrency gains in value, know that it will happen by chance.
Never spend any of your savings or investments on cryptocurrencies.
Remind friends and family never to lend you any money if you ask them.
4. Spend your time on other activities
Spend more of your time with your family or friends.
Consider taking up a new hobby or interest – maybe revisit one that you enjoyed before cryptocurrency took over.
Join a new social group or organise some events with some friends who don’t have any interest in cryptocurrency.
Talk to other people about your worries & concerns rather than keeping them ‘bottled’ up.
If you find that you try any or all of the above control measures and you are unsuccessful, then you should seek professional help. Remember that it is the dream of people addicted to any kind of activity, to be able to control what they are doing – very few can do so.
Where can I get help?
All of the following places will provide free support to help you treat your addiction (as cryptocurrency addiction is treated in a similar fashion to gambling addiction- the following sites will be of help):
NHS: The CNWL National Problem Gambling Clinic in London has professionals with experience in helping problem gamblers.
Gamcare – offer support for people with a gambling problem. They also offer online counselling.
The Gordon Moody Association – this charity provides treatment and housing for those suffering from gambling addiction.
The 12 step meetings of Gamblers Anonymous.
Gamanon: They have groups for relatives of addicted gamblers.
What sort of help is there for cryptocurrency addiction?
One option is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can:
- Reduce the number of days an addicted person spends on cryptocurrency trading
- Reduce the amount of money they lose to their addiction
- Help to stay away from the addiction once they have stopped.
How does CBT work?
CBT comprises a course of several one-hour sessions. These sessions will focus on ways of thinking, including how you feel and behave when you wish to spend or when you are trading. CBT will help you to consider more helpful & positive ways of thinking and behaving. A CBT diary will help to track your improvement; In the months following the treatment, repetitive CBT group sessions seem to help & encourage people to refrain from online gambling.
How does CBT compare with other treatments?
In many ways – here are some complementary studies on this.
12 Step Programmes
This approach assumes addiction is a disease and the best way to treat it is to surround yourself with people to support you – those best placed are usually those who have been through similar experiences.
Sharing problems and ways which they have been overcome in regular meetings is a great way to overcome these diseases. Usually a ‘buddy’ type of system is put in place whereby each person has another person they can depend on – someone the can contact for help if they feel like they may start on the path to addiction once more.
The 12 Step Fellowship, offers meetings in the UK and many people find that these meetings can be very helpful.
You may find that you also need some practical help with:
- dealing with (even the smallest of) family problems
- treating some other problems, e.g. depression.
There is currently no licensed medication for the treatment of cryptocurrency addiction in the UK but in some cases, a prescription of antidepressants can help with low moods.
How to get help and when
Please don’t wait until everything feels hopeless & life doesn’t seem worth living anymore. If you get some help, you will feel a lot better – which will help you to avoid many problems with your life, immediate health & wellbeing.
Living with an addicted cryptocurrency gambler:
It can be very hard and distressing being a child, parent or partner of a cryptocurrency gambler.
Your loved one will probably have borrowed or stolen to pay off debts while at the same time trying to hide the size of the problem from you.
If, with the help of the questions above, you see that cryptocurrency addiction is a problem for someone in your family, it is often best to be upfront and honest with him or her about it. Explain to them how much pain and trouble they are causing and that there is help available to them.