The wild price fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market can cause frustration among financial analysts, but intense excitement among people who love to gamble. Doctors at Castle Craig Hospital, a rehab clinic in Scotland, say that the cryptocurrency craze is particularly appealing to people with obsessive-compulsive disorders or gambling addictions.
In the USA, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has not recognized cryptocurrency addiction as a real condition… but it may, in the future, as crypto-trading can easily be classified as a form of gambling addiction due to the high risk involved.
The Castle Craig clinic provides a helpful online guide about crypto-addiction that includes:
- A profile of people most likely to become addicted to cryptocurrency trading
- A checklist where viewers can self-evaluate whether they have a crypto-addiction
- A list of ways people lose control over their online trading
- Potential hazards associated with crypto-addiction including its effects on family, health, and work
- Tips on how to get control, and how to seek help
The way that mental disorders are diagnosed and treated is constantly emerging. In today’s world, dependence on external substances or activities has evolved from the usual alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, and shopping to technology (video games, online gaming, and now cryptocurrency trading).
For now, “Internet Gaming Disorder” is the official term used to diagnose cryptocurrency addiction, but it is not yet recognized as a ‘real’ condition. Many doctors point to the correlation between all gambling activity and high rates of depression: the dopamine high, sense of accomplishment, and camaraderie of the Internet gaming world provides temporary relief, but also dependence.
Is the Castle Craig announcement a PR tactic? Maybe. Cryptocurrency addiction is probably never going to be considered a ‘new’ mental disorder – it will likely remain lumped in with Internet gaming and/or gambling in general – but that doesn’t mean people wouldn’t benefit from treatment for their crypto-addiction, since treatment is likely to include helping ease depression.