Would You Benefit From Crypto-Therapy?
By Patty Fiore
Published by Coindesk
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm and while crypto trading and investing has benefited some, it has also impacted many negatively. Looking at the crypto ecosystem from a psychological perspective, it’s easy to predict that the volatility of this field can easily lead someone into a storm of stress and anxiety. Just the fact that this industry operates 24 hours a day, will encourage dysfunctional behaviors such as compulsive price checking, losing sleep or obsessive thoughts about the market and where the price of crypto would be in the foreseeable future. Even the most sophisticated investors are not prepared for the intense fluctuation of crypto, and so it’s no surprise that this industry has now claimed its cut of the pie in mental health disorders.
As a psychotherapist, I’m treating clients that are suffering from anxiety regardless of the position of their trades. Whether their portfolio is up or down, they are stressed over what decision to make next. When the crypto market is up and investors experience a sudden increased wealth, there is celebratory drug and alcohol abuse. When the price of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies drop, investors experience anxiety, major depression, PTSD, and panic attacks. Clinically speaking, some of these clients are traumatized and their mental health disorders are affecting their overall physical health.
To top it all off, one can easily draw parallels between crypto trading and compulsive gambeling. The constant ups and down of the market creates euphoric highs of winning and depressive downs of losing. Just like any synthetic drug, chasing the high is the goal. The obvious danger is that in a quest to make more money, one falls into compulsive buying and selling and then finds it impossible to recover from the losses. The inability to stop the trading in a down market affects one’s stress level, self esteem, overall confidence and financial security. One could argue that some level of warning needs to be given about the gambeling aspect of crypto by companies such as Coinbase. Just like cigarette packages warn the smokers about the hazards of smoking, crypto exchange companies owe it to their users to create a warning sign alerting investors of the psychological dangers of this industry.
Sadly, there are very few who seek help or therapy as a tool to manage their anxiety. The most recent case is the unfortunate fate of Alex Kearns, whose lack of experience in finance led him to mistakenly believe that he owed $730,000 and in a moment of, what one could imagine being anxiety and hopelessness, Alex took his life by stepping in front of a moving train. The emotional rollercoaster of trading is not for everyone and platforms such as Robinhood have not taken enough precaution to vet their users’ financial experience. Whether you are trading stocks or crypto, it’s imperative to learn how to handle the emotional stress that automatically comes with the market. Mental Health professionals can facilitate a safe space to create appropriate boundaries and build healthy coping mechanisms.
Like any industry psychotherapists also need to evolve to understand industries such as tech and crypto and to encourage clients to bring those issues to their sessions. Therapists that understand these dynamic industries are more equipped to conceptualize their client’s needs and process their feelings and decisions in a more efficient manner.
Seeking professional help should not only be normalized but encouraged by all fortune 500 companies. Today’s professionals spend more time at work than they do at home, and going to a therapist is the best place to process work frustrations. Addressing interpersonal disagreements will help strengthen co-worker bonds, increase work satisfaction and productivity. I don’t believe work therapy is being offered by enough therapists and it could be argued that there is a growing demand in this sector. Hopefully more companies will understand this need and respond by hiring an in house therapist who is dedicated to their employees needs.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, the following organizations can help.
In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.