Cryptocurrency Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

As interest in cryptocurrency trading has increased, there’s been an associated rise in the number of people experiencing “cryptocurrency addiction”. It’s as destructive as gambling addiction and can cause significant harm to those affected and their families.

This blog looks at the common signs, symptoms and dangers of cryptocurrency addiction, and how to get help if you’re impacted by this destructive disorder.

What is cryptocurrency addiction?

Cryptocurrency addiction (also known as crypto addiction) is the compulsion to trade in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other alternative coins. It has many similarities to gambling addiction, although certain behaviors are specific to cryptocurrency addiction such as constantly monitoring price fluctuations, compulsively reading crypto news and analysis, and obsessively searching for new cryptocurrencies to buy and sell.

Cryptocurrency addiction can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and well-being. It can cause euphoric highs when the cryptocurrency performs above expectations and devastating lows when investments plummet or there’s a scam. As cryptocurrency is a fairly recent phenomenon (the first Bitcoin transaction took place in 2009) there is little specific research available about cryptocurrency addiction. However, mental health professionals have compared cryptocurrency addiction to online day-trading addiction as a sub-type of gambling addiction.

People with a gambling problem are 15 times more likely to take their own life compared to the general population, according to research. Therefore, cryptocurrency addiction should be taken very seriously. If you, or loved one, notice any of the signs and symptoms of cryptocurrency addiction, outlined below, you should seek professional help.

For a deeper insight into investment vs. gambling in cryptocurrencies or to find out more about what is cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFTs etc, please read Cryptocurrency: Is it Investing or Gambling?

Signs and symptoms of cryptocurrency addiction

There’s nothing wrong with cryptocurrency trading. However, as with any activity that can give instant gratification, there’s a risk of developing an addiction to it. Some of the common signs and symptoms of a cryptocurrency addiction problem include:

  • Taking increased trading risks with minimal or no research.
  • Needing to make bigger investments to receive the same adrenaline rush.
  • Becoming obsessed with planning, researching and trading cryptocurrencies.
  • Constantly checking prices – day and night.
  • Trading compulsively or experiencing strong urges to do so.
  • Making unsuccessful attempts to slow down or stop cryptocurrency trading.
  • Neglecting all other social or leisure activities to engage in trading.
  • Feeling stressed, anxious, irritable and/or angry when unable to trade.
  • Lying or hiding trading or trading-related activities from friends, family and colleagues.
  • Stealing, borrowing money, taking out loans, selling assets, running up credit card debts or using funds allocated for household bills to pay for cryptocurrency activities.
  • Continuing to trade despite negative consequences to relationships, financial well-being, physical and mental health, job security and other important aspects of life.

Why some people become addicted to cryptocurrency trading

There are numerous motivations that drive a person to compulsively trade in cryptocurrencies. Some of the common reasons are:

  • to forget about daily responsibilities and escape from life’s problems
  • to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety or depression
  • to fill time when not working or engaging in other activities
  • to trade alongside drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • to experience a high.

Health dangers of cryptocurrency addiction

Those with cryptocurrency addiction may experience mood swings and low self-esteem when their investments are not performing well or suffer from other mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and other psychological issues. In extreme cases, crypto addiction can lead to suicide ideation and attempts.

It can also lead to physical health problems such as insomnia if the individual becomes obsessed with checking cryptocurrency performance in the middle of the night. Some people may turn to excessive caffeine or other substances and stimulants to help stay awake for long periods of time. This can have unwanted side-effects including nausea, increased heart rate, headaches and chest pain.

Impact of cryptocurrency addiction on loved ones

Cryptocurrency addiction does not just affect the individual. It can have a devastating and far-reaching impact on those close to them:

  • It can place a significant strain on family relationships which can lead to separation, divorce and child custody issues.
  • It can cause financial hardship for the family as household money is diverted to cryptocurrency activities.
  • It can cause tension and distrust if the crypto addict steals from family members, sells assets, runs up huge debts, or takes out loans to cover losses and trade more frequently.
  • Family members can neglect their own health and well-being by being preoccupied with a loved one’s addictive behavior.

How to have a healthier relationship with cryptocurrency

Depending on the individual and their situation, it may still be possible to develop a more healthy and balanced relationship with cryptocurrency trading using these guidelines:

  • Don’t invest in anything that you don’t understand.
  • Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
  • Reduce the amount of time and days you spend engaging in cryptocurrency trading.
  • Don’t monitor cryptocurrency prices or news on a constant basis.
  • Find other activities to occupy your time.
  • Spend time friends and family.
  • Recognize any physical or mental health problems your cryptocurrency trading may be causing and seek help if necessary.

Treatment for cryptocurrency addiction

If you, or a loved one, is unable to have a healthy relationship with cryptocurrency trading and it’s having negative consequences, you should seek professional help.

Our fully-licensed therapists are specialists in treating people with cryptocurrency addiction and gambling disorder. They can provide high-quality online counseling wherever you are to address your problematic behavior and support your mental health and well-being.

After assessing your needs, we’ll design a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific goals so you can get your life back on track as soon as possible.

Take our gambling disorder test then get in touch today to book your free and confidential 30-minute consultation.