You probably have heard about somebody who proudly claims that they eat and breathe cryptocurrency. It’s the first thing that they think about when they wake up in the morning and the last thing that occupies them before they turn up for the night. They check their mobile phones every now and then for the latest numbers in the cryptocurrency exchange.
As a result, they are always distracted or seemingly uninterested in conversations. Unless, of course, the topic is cryptocurrency.
When Bitcoin was first introduced, only a few really understood its significance. Imagine having a decentralized currency beyond the scope of governments and theoretically accessible to everyone?
Now, cryptocurrency has penetrated the public consciousness. The technology itself even went beyond its original design. Blockchain is now being used as a more transparent and secure ledger system, online wallets, as well as tracking the number of downloads for digital content.
How to Draw the Line?
So how do you draw the line, however, between passion and addiction?
Behavioral addiction is defined as a compulsion to engage in an activity other than drugs or alcohol. As with everything else, it’s not always a good idea when you resort to extremes.
There were some debates on whether online trading is a form of gambling. There’s a ring of truth no matter where you stand. You can definitely make a case for or against and your perspective is no less valid than another’s.
Then day trading and spread betting came into the picture. These sub-sets of online trading do have a shorter period in which you buy and sell, compelling you to check the numbers every now and then.
As your efforts get rewarded, you engage in the patterns repeatedly. Pretty soon, it’s not about the money anymore. It’s the irrational thought that you can beat the system, even if the facts say otherwise.
Exposure to Consistent Risks
That reward increases the danger of getting addicted to crypto trading, especially if you are predisposed to addiction.
Yes, there’s such a thing as a genetic component to addiction. Drug and alcohol recovery centers are cognizant of this fact.
People may associate addiction with substance abuse—drugs, alcohol—but it could be a type of behavior or activity. You can develop an addiction for gambling, porn, shopping, electronic games, sex, hoarding, social media, exercise, eating, working, and yes, crypto trading.
Gambling addicts suffer from the perpetual “beginner’s luck syndrome.” It’s this mindset that their luck will change the next time around.
However, crypto trading is much more than that, right? Gambling relies on luck while speculation on Bitcoin requires a lot of knowledge and insight into the system so you can manage the risks, doesn’t it?.
Those in trading know that they are always taking a risk. The rush that it brings will result in a massive dose of adrenaline, dopamine, and endorphins to the system.
You may experience these symptoms at any point in crypto trading:
- Increased heart rate
- Shallow breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling excited or nervous
- Dilated pupils
- Heightened senses
It’s not unlike adrenaline junkies who always pursue the next adventure to get the next high. Notice that the agent of delivery doesn’t matter. It could be skydiving, car racing, rafting, bungee jumping, and the like as long as there’s an element of danger involved. Only the stakes are higher because they are gambling with their lives.
Symptoms of Crypto Trading Addiction
Look for these red flags that may indicate that you have a compulsion and crypto trading is not just a hobby or a means of livelihood for you:
- You have tried to stop crypto trading but are unable to. One of the hallmarks of addiction is the inability to stop. This loss of control will definitely have some negative impacts on your daily life. Another characteristic of addiction is a strong belief that you can stop anytime. Addicts of all types waste away their lives, breaking up their families, losing all their savings because they always give in to their cravings. Addiction changes the chemistry in the brain; that’s why addiction is considered a disease.
- You have an intense compulsion to check on your coin. You become anxious or excited whenever you hear a notification alert on your phone. In fact, you often imagine hearing a notification alert when there was none. Nonetheless, you constantly check the board for any changes, even in the most inappropriate places such as the movies, a religious service, in the middle of work, etc.
- You become lethargic and bored during once beloved activities. Your attention span actually shrinks for anything that is not crypto trading-related. Everyday conversations lose their appeal. Your work becomes secondary to the performance of your digital currency. All you can think about is your bitcoin.
- You become irritable and angry if you can’t log on. When you can’t check your account, you lash out at everybody. You do this directly—by shouting at your loved ones, friends, and acquaintances—or you take the passive-aggressive approach: You sarcastically answer even the most innocent of questions, you deliberately forget instructions, and you give backhanded compliments. In fact, you invite confrontation so you have some form of release.
- Losing money doesn’t discourage you. The average person will cut his losses when he starts bleeding money. Addicts will mortgage their homes or stop making car payments in order to put their money on the “next big thing”. It’s a good bet that if they lose money today, they will try to win it back tomorrow.
- You are alienating the people around you. You spend all your free time holed up in your room, sitting in front of your computer studying the numbers. You stop going to reunions or family gatherings, you stop meeting or hanging out with your friends after work, and you don’t go out on dates or out with your spouse anymore. (According to surveys, 65 percent of marriages where one spouse has a gambling addiction end up in divorce.) Worse, if you realize you are doing this, you don’t care. All that matters is your digital coin.
- You lie a lot. When family or friends ask you if and how much you have lost through crypto trading, you become defensive and evasive. You lie about your activities and how much money you really have “invested” in your coin. Extra money that should have gone to the family account (for savings or to pay down credit cards) goes to crypto trading, instead.
- You have unrealistic views about your chances. Gamblers share a common trait in the sense that they feel their luck will change the next time around. It’s the same thing when you have a crypto trading addiction. You keep to your patterns and routines in the hopes of maintaining your luck or changing your luck for the better. Even if your failure rate is greater than your success rate, you don’t do anything different (like trying to increase your knowledge or finding a mentor). Instead, you believe that, eventually, crypto trading will be your ticket to luxury.
Crypto trading in itself is not a bad thing, so long as you don’t cross the thin line between online trading and gambling addiction. If you do, you risk not just your life savings but your marriage, your job, your mental health: your life itself.
By all means, engage in digital currency trading as a hobby. If you’re good at it, maybe even as a means to earn a decent living. But like everything else, moderation is key.