A Scottish hospital is treating people who are addicted to trading cryptocurrencies in the UK’s first ever ‘crypto clinic,’ the Evening Standard reported today, May 28.
Castle Craig Hospital in Peeblesshire, the Scottish Borders, has created a course of residential treatment for those it deems to be crypto addicts.
Experts told the Evening Standard that crypto trading can become a form of behavioural addiction, with traders obsessively glued to “minute-by-minute” market fluctuations. The devised treatment program is therefore closer to existing methods for treating gambling addictions, rather than to substance abuse programs.
Chris Burn, a gambling therapist at Castle Craig Hospital, was quoted by the Evening Standard as saying:
"The high risk, fluctuating cryptocurrency market appeals to the problem gambler. It provides excitement and an escape from reality. Bitcoin, for example, has been heavily traded and huge gains and losses were made. It's a classic bubble situation."
Tony Marini, a former gambling and cocaine addict, is leading some of the center’s new treatments. Marini told the Standard that “introducing life structure is key,” adding:
"I see cryptocurrency trading as a way for people to escape from themselves, into another world, because they don't like the world they're in. The first stage of treatment is to join other addicts in group therapy and share their life stories. This helps them identify with each other and realise that they're not alone."
Castle Craig said that there are currently no figures for the number of ‘crypto addicts,’ but “around 13 mln” people worldwide are trading in the system.
Last year, Cointelegraph reported on a Bitcoin investor who used his home as collateral for a $325,000 equity loan, in pursuit of making a mid-term profit on the cryptocurrency. Crypto community members, evidently viewing his investment mindset as equivalent to gambling, remarked that the move was “almost like a high school chemistry teacher deciding to begin making and selling crystal meth due to a change in life circumstances.”
From another perspective, there has been some discussion in the UK as to whether declaring your crypto trading to be gambling could help to avoid taxes with the British tax authority HMRC, which generally deems crypto profits as subject either to income or capital gains tax laws.