Crypto degens are finally getting help

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A Bloomberg report on “crypto addicts” is shedding light on the degens who are spending their hours watching every up and down of the crypto markets.

“It’s very similar to being at a roulette table,” said Dylan Kerr, a therapist in Thailand who has treated addicts. “It’s seemingly never ending, and it demands your attention. If you take your eyes off the prize, you could miss out on massive opportunities and incur massive penalties.”

Crypto investing is so pernicious because it is so novel. Experts say that while Wall Street techniques – including automated trading – are old hat and almost boring, crypto investments are constantly moving and fairly novel. The real draw is the potential for untapped riches, something you can’t get by shorting Apple.

Further, crypto markets are 24/7 and never close. This has led to some traders to admit they’re addicted to the rush of trading.

From the article:

[To psychiatrists] compulsive crypto-trading looks a lot like compulsive online gambling. But in some ways, they say, crypto can be even more treacherous. Many people view trading crypto-trading as a form of investing, which confers a certain respectability. Inquiries about crypto problems are up 300% between 2018 and 2021.

“You do it to get the feeling, the rush,” said psychiatrist Thilo Beck. “And you have to repeat it again and again, to get more of the rush. And it’s amazing. These are very intelligent people, but they stop thinking straight. They know enough about statistics to understand that the chance that they will win back is really small, but they still believe it, and the more they lose, the more they want to play or buy.’’

The growing problem of crypto addiction is real. It’s akin to drug or alcohol addiction in that the physical and mental affects are dangerous and continuous.

Doctors, for their part, are taking leaves from the standard addiction framework. From the piece:

[One psychiatrist] uses a 12-step plan akin to Alcoholics Anonymous. His work focuses on understanding what he calls the “crypto curve,” the arc from “highly fulfilling” trading to dependency, and then to painful realizations that can bring on feelings of isolation, helplessness, depression or secondary addictions. The path to recovery here includes an exploration of the self and spirituality, gradual tempering of usage, a search for healthier fulfillment and ultimately the rebuilding of routines and relationships.

Everything is addictive, given the right triggers. It looks like crypto and the metaverse are finally tripping those switches in thousands of people.

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

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John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.He has written eight books including the best book on blogging, Bloggers Boot Camp, and a book about the most expensive timepiece ever made, Marie Antoinette’s Watch. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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