On February 5, BBC reported that The Balance, one of the luxury rehabilitation centers, launched a new program dedicated specifically to treating crypto addiction. The Balance is headquatered in Zurich, Switzerland and has its centers in Mallorca, Spain and London, England.
The Balance claims to specialize in mental and holistic health, as well as addiction treatment. The latter includes substance abuse problems and a long list of behavioral addictions like workaholism, phone and media use addiction, compulsive shopping, gambling and cryptocurrency trading.
According to The Balance team, “The euphoric feeling combined with the huge profits and a sense of winning is what makes crypto trading more addictive. In contrast, the lows of crypto trading are equivalent to withdrawal for alcoholics and drug addicts. Any low they suffer makes them want to chase the ‘next high’ with hopes that things will be more profitable, thus entering a vicious cycle of addiction.”
The high volatility of cryptocurrencies is one of the major culprits of addiction. On the one hand, it creates great opportunities to earn money. On the other hand, it also makes it easy to lose money with crypto investments. To make feasible profits from cryptocurrency trading, one has to monitor the market constantly.
Leveraged investments make trading even more exciting. On top of that, the accessibility of trading platforms allows traders to engage in related activities without any boundaries.
The Balance team believes that excessive interest in cryptocurrency investment should be considered a form of addictive behavior, as it has key characteristics of an addiction. These are a compulsion to monitor cryptocurrency prices incessantly, so as this activity begins to interfere with family and professional obligations, as well as the inability to withdraw from trading even when it causes significant losses, jeopardizes the financial stability of the trader's family, and affects relationships.
It is not hard to imagine how some people struggle to balance their cryptocurrency trading and other responsibilities. Furthermore, the more money is at stake, the more excitement trading involves. Lia Nower, who serves as a director at the Centre for Gambling Studies in Rutgers School of Social Work, revealed that there is "a strong link between crypto trading and problem gambling and weak relations with depression and anxiety symptoms meriting concern regarding crypto trading" in her 2019 research with Devin J. Mills.
A more recent study from 2022 conducted by Finnish researchers found similar patterns:
"Both real-time trading platform use and cryptomarket trading were associated with higher scores of addictive behavior measures. Especially cryptomarket traders reported significantly higher scores in excessive gambling, gaming, internet use, and alcohol use. Cryptomarket traders also reported higher scores in different measures on mental health problems."
Anna Lembke, a chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic and professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, agreed in her commentary for BBC that crypto trading can be addictive:
"It's a biopsychosocial disease so it requires a biopsychosocial intervention: medications in some cases, individual and group psychotherapy, changing habits and environment, (or) implementing healthier replacement activities."
However, she is not sure whether the cost of such treatment offered by rehab centers is always justified. Meanwhile, Nower believes that such luxury rehabilitation centers "are making money off desperate people." In her opinion, the symptoms of different behavioral addictions are very similar, regardless of their type, and therefore, require similar treatment plans.
At press time, The Balance recommends undergoing at least four-week treatment, with the cost for a week ranging from 25,000 to 75,000 euros depending on the number of participants in the program and the included activities. Some of the approaches to treating crypto trading addiction used by The Balance team include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and the 12-step program. Indeed, these forms of treatment are also widely used for other forms of addiction. Here are some more tips from the luxury rehab to deal with financial stress, shared by its team on Twitter:
The Balance is just one of the rehabilitation facilities offering specialized medical help for compulsive crypto traders and their families. Specialists at Castle Craig Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, help patients with "addiction to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading," however, they emphasize that they "treat these as forms of gambling addiction." Diamond Rehab in Kamala Sub District, Thailand, and The Kusnacht Practice in Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland, are more examples of luxury residential treatment centers.