Cryptocurrency Trading as Addiction: Depression, Anxiety, and Getting Rekt

TL;DR: Preliminary findings on cryptocurrency trading among regular gamblers: A new risk for problem gambling? is a study published in the current issue of scholarly journal Addictive Behaviors. Researchers paint a bleak picture: sizeable numbers of already frequent gamblers are finding their way to crypto trading, compounding highs and lows of an already crippling disorder. 

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Cryptocurrency Trading as Addiction

In the May 2019 issue of Addictive Behaviors (Volume 92, Pages 136-140), researchers reveal what they’re calling preliminary findings on how gamblers are taking to crypto trading. Close to half of “regular gamblers” have traded in cryptocurrencies over the last year, and the study claims to link the practice to that of “high-risk stock trading,” associating it with a possible risk in developing “problem gambling, depression and anxiety.”

Cryptocurrency Trading as Addiction: Depression, Anxiety, and Getting Rekt

At least anecdotally, among crypto’s first use cases were indeed gambling sites of a kind, from dice games to online poker, and more evolved decentralized applications (dApps) continue to the present. However, researchers are warning how frivolity and fun, a way to socialize within the community while increasing crypto usage literacy, could very well worsen already degenerative tendencies when it comes to crypto trading.

Authors Lia Nower, director of the Center for Gambling Studies, and Devin Mills describe crypto as “emerging digital currencies that allow anonymity in accessing various risk-taking activities through the Internet (e.g., drugs, gambling),” which might cause savvy readers to believe maybe the pair do not really understand cryptographic currency. Nevertheless, they surveyed online 876 participants, the majority male with an average age of 33 years old.

Strongly Associated with Problem Gambling Severity

“Trading cryptocurrencies is strongly associated with problem gambling severity (r = 0.53, p < .001),” they claim, with “sports betting, daily fantasy sports, high-risk stock trading, and problem gambling severity contribute to trading cryptocurrencies more frequently in the past year.” The online nature of the phenomenon, interestingly, seems an important factor, “whereas gambling in on-land casinos contributed to less cryptocurrency trading.”

Cryptocurrency Trading as Addiction: Depression, Anxiety, and Getting Rekt

Perhaps unsurprising to crypto trading veterans, “cryptocurrencies overlapped strongly with trading high-risk stocks. Moreover, gamblers who engaged in both forms of trading reported greater problem gambling and depression and anxiety symptoms relative to those trading either cryptocurrencies or high-risk stocks, but not both,” Nower and Mills explained.

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