Trading cryptocurrencies can be just as addicting as drugs. a fact that is especially evident to therapist Tony Marini, who works at Castle Craig in Scotland, the world’s first rehabilitation clinic to treat cryptocurrency addiction.
The trend has been getting worse, with inquiries increasing tenfold over the last year, Marini told Decrypt. There are also those who lost out big by losing passwords to their crypto wallets, permanently cutting them off from sometimes millions of dollars worth of crypto, a reality that can lead to suicidal thoughts, according to Marini.
“We’re not hearing about the people that have lost lots of money,” he told Decrypt. “People are so ashamed. They feel so guilty. They don’t want to be talking about it.”
Castle Craig has been treating cryptocurrency addictions since 2018. Many cases are interwoven with drug and alcohol addictions, he said, which can even lead to an addiction to crypto.
“Commonly, people start because they want to buy stuff off the dark web,” Marini told Decrypt. “And the only way to do that is with cryptocurrency. The biggest problem is this cross addiction [with crypto] starting—through drugs and alcohol.”
While staying at Castle Craig, residents are only allowed to use their phones for two hours a week. The only drugs available are nicotine and caffeine.
“I firmly believe that a 12-step program should absolutely exist for cryptocurrency addiction,” Steven Elphinstone, who has been at the clinic for just shy of two months, told the outlet.
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READ MORE: Inside ‘Crypto Castle’: The World’s First Bitcoin Addiction Clinic [Decrypt]
More on the clinic: A Scottish Clinic Will Now Treat “Cryptocurrency Addiction”