What Is Crypto Addiction?

Someone with a cryptocurrency (often called crypto) addiction can’t fight the urge to participate in the online trading of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, even though doing so has many negative consequences. They continue their behaviors despite significant interruptions at work, home, school, or in their personal life.

What Is Crypto?

Cryptocurrency is a system of virtual money. The value of a cryptocurrency is tied to demand, market conditions, and supply levels. Users can buy and sell multiple cryptos through online markets, just like a stock. However, unlike the stock market, the value of a cryptocurrency is not supported by any underlying asset, making it harder to predict its overall movement.

Adding to cryptocurrency’s volatile nature is the fact that it is largely unregulated. Most governments still need an adequate regulatory scheme that protects consumers and ensures they have all the information they need to make informed purchases.

Users can buy cryptocurrencies on numerous apps and websites, like Robinhood or Coinbase. These apps often provide various ancillary services, including research and forums. Unfortunately, many forums lack adequate financial support or government oversight. As a result, there have been a series of market collapses, like that of FTX or Binance, in which investors have seen significant financial losses.

Recognizing A Crypto Addiction

Specific behaviors signal a cryptocurrency addiction. Common signs include:

  • Crypto trading more than they intended
  • Attempting to stop digital trading but being unable to
  • Spending most days participating in crypto activities
  • Needing to spend more money trading to receive the same rush
  • Having a strong urge to trade cryptocurrencies
  • Avoiding activities with family and friends to participate in crypto trading
  • Becoming irritable or angry when unable to trade online
  • Continuing to trade cryptos even though it interferes with relationships, work, school, or home life

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Signs Of Crypto Addiction

The symptoms and signs of crypto addiction are comparable to other behavioral addictions, such as gambling addiction. Common behaviors may include:

  • Increasing trading risks without increasing research or knowledge
  • Seeming obsessed with everything crypto-related
  • Checking on crypto trades constantly
  • Lying or trying to hide their crypto trading behaviors from others
  • Stealing or misusing household income to trade online
  • Showing a decline in mental health, such as worsening anxiety or depression

Cryptocurrency Risks

There are many risks connected to trading these virtual coins.

Legal And Regulatory Issues

There are many legal issues surrounding cryptocurrencies. These include:

  • Unregulated markets have made it too easy for investors to take depositors’ money, hide it, move it, or lock it up in ways that would be illegal in other markets.
  • The decentralized nature of the crypto market makes it easy for major investors to manipulate prices.
  • Apps designed to encourage speculative and uninformed investments often lead to more buying than an individual can afford.
  • Crypto purchases are difficult to track, making them easy to use for criminal activity.

Gamifying Investments

Many apps and marketplaces are intentionally designed to “gamify” investments, often resembling casinos or carnival games. They come with flashing lights, sounds, and the ability to notify forums and social media about your purchases. The apps ultimately create dopamine hits that help build addiction.

Peer Pressure

The culture of crypto can also fuel an addiction. Forums and social media encourage others to make crypto buys and then brag about them — even if those purchases may not be in the buyer’s best financial interests. This culture creates pressure to engage in crypto markets, fueling a cryptocurrency addiction.

Volatile Market

Finally, from a financial perspective, the value of cryptocurrency is not connected to any underlying asset, like a company’s performance. The crypto market’s unregulated nature means it is too easy for bad operators to move or steal investors’ money. A lack of regulations commonly leads to buyers not being as informed as they need to be when purchasing. Many buyers buy crypto without knowing what drives its value or of less risky alternatives. This economic reality makes the purchase of cryptocurrency more speculative and harder to predict. As a result, volatile price movements can grow investments or wipe them out completely.

All of these risks can lead to costly losses. These losses can make investors desperate and encourage them to buy more crypto coins, fueling a cryptocurrency addiction.

Crypto And Gambling Addiction

Cryptocurrency addiction and gambling addiction are similar behavioral addictions, as people risk money in the hopes of earning more.

Additional characteristics of someone with a crypto or gambling addiction include:

  • Desiring immediate gratification, even if delaying gratification would offer more reward
  • Seeking high-sensation activities
  • Lacking control over their impulses
  • Having low levels of resilience when encountering significant losses
  • Having poor coping skills
  • Having a co-occurring mental health or substance use disorder

How Do Cryptocurrency Addictions Impact Loved Ones?

If a person is addicted to cryptocurrency, they may regularly borrow money from family and friends to continue digital investments. This can strain the relationship and lead to other financial consequences that impact loved ones. Trading losses can lead to the following:

  • Being unable to pay the mortgage on a house
  • Being unable to meet basic family needs
  • Accruing high debt with no way to repay it
  • Spending less time with loved ones
  • Ending a marriage or significant relationships

Treating Cryptocurrency Addiction

A licensed therapist who specializes in behavioral addictions can establish a treatment plan that encompasses the many aspects of addiction recovery. If you have co-occurring disorders, they can treat them simultaneously to improve recovery outcomes.

Treatment plans may include:

What To Do If You Are Addicted

Cryptocurrency is a rapidly evolving marketplace. Unfortunately, for many, the dangers of cryptocurrency addiction are real.

Many who struggle with behavioral addictions, like cryptocurrency addiction, benefit from the flexible and targeted treatment that online therapy provides. Explore our online therapy directory today to learn more about your options.

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