digital gambling. Experts Warn: “Cryptocurrency Is Addictive”

Those who invest in cryptocurrency can win or lose a lot of money. Experts warn: There is a risk of addiction to digital currencies.

A new study published in Addictive Behaviors explains the connection between cryptocurrency “play” and addiction. Lia Nower, one of the study authors and an addictive behavior expert at Rutgers University in the US, compares cryptocurrency trading to gambling addiction. “It’s kind of a gamble,” Neuer told the Washington Post. “I can play without limits and the reward is flowing in at the speed of dopamine.” Something similar happens when buying and selling digital currencies: “With real-time color charts, trading apps like Robinhood make cryptocurrency trading feel like a video game,” Nower says.

like gambling addiction

It is clear that the constant availability and lack of regulation of cryptocurrency trading supports the behavior of people at risk of addiction. Participants who had played at least once per month in the past year were interviewed for the study. In a questionnaire, they had to answer questions about their gambling behavior and health. Surprising similarities have emerged with the behavior of regular cryptocurrency investors. Frequently, they described higher levels of stress, such as often feeling lonely, and reported other psychological problems including depression. More than 50 percent of gambling addicts surveyed are already investing in cryptocurrency.

The American Psychiatric Association has not yet classified cryptocurrency trading addiction as a subcategory of gambling addiction. This means that health insurance companies can refuse to cover the costs of therapists’ treatments. Any therapist who specializes in addictive behaviors can help. “What you really depend on is the risk,” notes the study author. In this sense, playing with bitcoin and the like is no different from getting addicted to slot machines or the roulette table.

I am studying

  • 50% of regular gamblers traded cryptocurrency in the last year
    • Cryptocurrency trading is associated with trading high-risk stocks
  • Cryptocurrency trading is associated with a risk of gambling problems, depression, and anxiety

Cryptocurrencies are emerging digital currencies that allow anonymity to access various online risky activities (such as drugs and gambling). However, given the conceptual connections between high-risk stocks, the study sought to assess the relationship between cryptocurrency trading and problem gambling. Data were collected by an online tomographic survey. The survey announcement was posted on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants were adults who had played at least once per month for the past year ( no.= 876; 58.33% male; M.= 33.74 years, SD= 9.73). Participants completed the Gambling Severity Index, the Patient Health Questionnaire (two-component version), and generalized anxiety disorder. Cryptocurrency trading is strongly related to the severity of problem gambling ( s= 0.53, s<.001). The results showed an association between access to sports betting services, daily fantasy sports, high-risk stock trading, and cryptocurrency trading, while gambling at land-based casinos contributed to a decrease in cryptocurrency trading. Finally, cryptocurrency trading has largely overlapped with trading high-risk stocks. Additionally, gamblers who engaged in both forms of trading reported greater gaming problems and symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who traded cryptocurrencies or high-risk stocks, but not both. Current findings indicate that cryptocurrency trading can be attractive to players with severe gambling problems.

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