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Cryptocurrency Addiction: Signs and How to Get Help

The hallmark of every addiction is euphoric highs followed by intense lows. Cryptocurrencies have a highly volatile market with erratic mooning and crashing patterns. The highs and lows give traders a stimulating and mood altering effect, which can cause crypto addiction. Continue reading to find out what crypto addiction is, whether you might have the problem, and how to resolve it.

crypto addiction signs
crypto addiction signs

Can People Become Addicted to Crypto?

In the past few years, addiction recovery and rehabilitation centers have been dealing with a new subset of addictive behavior – crypto addiction, and even categorized it as a sub-type of day trading addiction.

Basically, crypto addiction is the compulsive buying and selling of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other alt coins. It also involves being preoccupied with global cryptocurrency market charts to stay informed about changes in price.

These behaviors can become a major distraction and have negative impacts on a person’s life. However, you must first determine whether crypto is just a fun hobby, or it has become an addiction to you.

Signs and Symptoms of an Addiction

The best place to start crypto addiction self-diagnosis is understanding the general addiction psychology. There’s a certain brain chemistry the crypto trading setup triggers in some people, causing crypto addiction. When a coin’s value increases several hundred times its original price, a trader makes a profit. The profit creates a massive influx of dopamine in the mind, making them feel intense pleasure. This dopamine or pleasurable feeling is what most crypto trading addicts chase to the extent of compromising other aspects of their lives. Here are some telltale signs of crypto addiction:

  • crypto addiction signsUnhealthy obsession with crypto news and market trends
  • Poor financial judgment
  • Adrenaline rush before making a trade
  • Neglect of all other aspects of social and professional life
  • Creating a social circle with others people with a crypto addiction
  • Anxiety, stress and depression when you make losses

Reasons People Get Addicted

Many people get exposed to crypto trading and gambling, and engage in it as pass time or with a solid business strategy. Therefore, crypto trading isn’t inherently addictive, and often, the emotional state of the trader determines their predisposition to any crypto addiction and other addictive tendencies. Here are some reasons people get addicted:

Biological makeup:

Some people are born with a higher mental disposition to develop crypto addiction or other addictive behaviors.


Online exchanges and mobile devices have made crypto very accessible and easy to get hooked onto. There has been a steep rise in crypto addiction since 2016.

Partial reinforcement:

Not all trades are losses and not all are profits. It makes people with crypto addiction keep trading after many losses, hoping they will turn a profit.

Illusion of Control:

The crypto marketplace creates a false sense of security in people who research market trends, speculative measures and stop losses. However, these measures aren’t always bulletproof, and the emotional rollercoaster from the profits and losses is still enough to cause crypto addiction.

Loss aversion:

Players get more emotionally attached to losses, and keep investing time and money in trading to recover. Crypto addiction happens when chasing losses.

Availability bias:

Players have a cognitive bias that leads them to overestimate their ability to make profits in crypto based on their past profits or friends’ successes.

The Effects of an Addiction

Like other compulsive behavior, crypto addiction is often a way to distract yourself from certain unpleasant aspects of your life. It stems from self-abandonment, and worsens dissociation from one’s reality. Crypto addiction also leads to these effects:

On Yourself

  • You make risky investments without strategy. The sole driving force of your investment decision is the pleasure you can potentially derive from the trade and it gives you an adrenaline rush.
  • You’re obsessed with researching cryptocurrencies and constantly checking price changes.
  • You’ve lost interest in all other aspects of social life at the expense of crypto trading or gambling.
  • You’ve made several unsuccessful attempts to abstain from trading and investing your money in crypto.
  • You feel anxious, lose sleep or get moody and irritable when you cannot access crypto exchanges or trade.
  • You keep trading despite the negative impact it is having on your mental health, finances and relationships.

On Your Loved Ones

  • You’re lying and hiding your trading activities from loved ones .
  • You’ve sold assets, taken loans and stolen money meant for basic needs to fund your crypto addiction.

How to Break the Addiction to Crypto

Crypto addiction is a mental health problem, and you can resolve it by transforming your mindset. Here are some steps you can take to overcome your crypto addiction:

  • Set loss limits: The system clients holding crypto when their accounts have suffered significant losses. Most crypto accounts have settings that allow users to set loss limits.
  • Interrupt crypto trading: You can interrupt trading in crypto for a period longer than three months, and look for positive activities to get your dopamine levels up without feeding the crypto addiction.
  • Stop engaging with communities related to crypto: The community gives you a false sense of belonging and normalizes the crypto addiction, making it harder to objectively evaluate your losses.
  • Stop reading up about crypto: A new coin, token or NFT is always coming up daily. News of tokens gaining or losing value often act as a trigger for people addicted to trading to trade.
  • Find a therapist or support group: Crypto addiction is similar to other addictive behavior. Therapy can help you address the underlying emotional issues that predispose you to addictive behavior.

How to Gamble Responsibly with Crypto

You can use crypto in responsible gambling when you fully understand how to set boundaries and limits. Always choose gambling sites that have responsible gaming measures like loss limits, wager limits, self exclusion and withdrawal locks for crypto betting. Also, crypto betting is easier when you study the market and place bets with reasonable stop loss measures.

Whether doing crypto gambling or betting, remember that it is primarily a fun activity and not a chore, a way to make money or distraction from reality. You can read more about responsible gambling and avoiding crypto addiction on our dedicated page.

Expert Conclusion

Crypto addiction affects many people who may not even be consciously aware of it. Fortunately, the gambling and crypto community is sharing valuable information to help people reflect, evaluate themselves and determine if they need help. Seek professional help if you feel like you might be struggling with a crypto addiction.

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Millicent Ngugi
Millicent Ngugi - Thought Leader and Crypto Gambling and Gaming Expert
25 Articles

Millicent is a DeFi, Crypto and Web3 writer. She started writing crypto content as a freelancer in 2014. She is also a thought leader in the African crypto space, working in collaboration with Binance to create awareness about crypto and Web3 in Emerging Markets.

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Reviewed and Fact Checked by Eugene Abungana , Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst, and Institutional Trader