Corner those experienced within cryptocurrency’s ecosystem, and they’ll admit something akin to addicts exist. That fine line between obsession and irrational exuberance is probably best exemplified in wild price fluxuations, furious buying and selling. At least one historic county in Scotland, Peeblesshire (Siorrachd nam Pùballan), believes they’ve identified bitcoin addicts, and are beginning to treat them in the same manner as those with similar attractions to gambling.
Bitcoin Addicts are a Thing in Scotland
Crypto addicts could do worse, and that’s for sure: Scotland’s Castle Craig Hospital addiction treatment center is a bucolic, sprawling campus seemingly designed to induce calm and reflection. It’s also home to a first of sorts, according to regional press: a concentrated program set to dealing with a growing phenomenon, cryptocurrency addiction.
The hospital’s creative writing coordinator and gambling therapist, Christopher Burn, explains how 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.”
Mr. Burn can be temporarily excused from jumping his lane into speculative finance; a good guess is literally no one seeks him out for economic analysis. But the rest of his point can be valid in the sense of popular anecdotes. At what time in the journey from regular, functional adult to 21 year old Canadian living in a car to save money in order to buy lesser-known crypto is it an addiction? What if the example does not involve a ballsy single dude; instead, it’s a family of five with three children, parents in their late 30s, who’ve sold their house in hope of riding the-then booming bitcoin core (BTC) price? Are these examples of addiction or are they simply badass pioneers who know something the rest of us do not?
Is Crypto Just Gambling in Disguise?
Tony Marini, on site therapist, and someone who has also struggled with cocaine and gambling addictions himself, details, “Having been through it myself, my experience of addiction gives me insight and empathy towards others who have the same problem. 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 realise that they’re not alone.”
A recurring word, “escape,” permeates both explanations, still admittedly fuzzy in the way of a solid definition. Nevertheless it does seem if crypto occupies too great (?) a space in a person’s mind, to a point where they chronically ignore real, ongoing life around them, they just might have a problem. And since speculative markets very often evidence fast fortunes gained and lost, and gained and lost again, there must be properties of problem behavior similar to gambling addictions (which have been well-documented).
Experienced in treating addictions such as traditional alcohol and drug problems, Castle Craig Hospital has begun addressing addictions involving cryptocurrency. Indeed, they’re using techniques in the course developed from successful gambling addiction methods. Though more than ten million people worldwide are said to be trading and dealing in cryptocurrency, no firm numbers or percentages exist regarding the amount of people with addictive symptoms.