Since bitcoin first appeared nearly a decade ago, cryptocurrencies have transformed internet culture. Online, crypto traders and blockchain enthusiasts eagerly swap anecdotes regarding market speculation and upcoming token offerings, and the crypto culture has spilled out into the world at large as well, inspiring thousands of summits, meet-up groups, and conferences worldwide.
But there's a downside to that cryptocurrency culture that a rural Scottish hospital is hoping to address: Cryptocurrency trading addiction.
Castle Craig Hospital, a treatment centre that offers programmes to treat alcohol, drug, and behavioural addictions is now offering a cryptocurrency addiction programme among its offerings for gambling addictions.
According to the hospital's website, the programme focuses on people whose cryptocurrency trading habits have become problematic.
"Cryptocurrency addiction is a behavioural addiction, similar to gambling addiction, and disrupts or damages personal, family relationships and recreational pursuits," the site reads.
The hospital suggests that the addiction is most common in young men, who make up the demographic majority of online traders, and that the behaviour is a form of evasion that can potentially lead to total bankruptcy. As treatment, the hospital recommends cognitive behavioural therapy or a 12-step programme.