Castle Craig Hospital now treats people who are addicted to the online trading of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin.
As far as we know, we're the first addiction treatment clinic in the world to offer this.
The treatment involves a minimum of six weeks of intensive (residential) therapy using techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the 12 Steps and trauma therapy.
Castle Craig recommend a minimum of six weeks of residential treatment in order to understand the addiction, deal with the underlying issues and learn to live without it.
With over 25 addiction therapists working full time, Castle Craig Hospital is the biggest residential rehab clinic in Britain and a European centre of excellence.
Castle Craig rehab has a capacity of 90 patients and has been operational for thirty years.
What is cryptocurrency addiction?
Addiction to the trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is a behavioural addiction, like gambling addiction and compulsive online ‘day trading’ on the stockmarket.
Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University, said: "Addiction to cryptocurrencies is a sub-type of online day-trading addiction. I see these as akin to gambling addiction."
Cryptocurrency users can get hooked by the constant fluctuation of prices online and they can place bets at any time about which way the price will go. This can be exciting but, like gambling addiction, can be financially disastrous.
Chris Burn, a gambling therapist at Castle Craig Hospital says, "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 & losses were made. It's a classic bubble situation."
Before becoming a qualified therapist specialising in gambling and cryptocurrency addiction, Tony Marini was a gambling and cocaine addict.
“Having been through it myself,’ he says, "my experience of addiction gives me insight and empathy towards others who have the same problem.”
“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,” he says.
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,” Tony explains.
A vital part of the treatment is joining the Castle Craig community -- the other patients in residential rehab (between 20 and 30 people at any one point). This number of fellow addicts is extremely helpful in the early stages of the recovery process
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps the patients “look at the way they’re thinking,” says Tony.
CBT is used alongside the 12 Steps fellowships (like Gambling Anonymous) which gives each patient a lifelong structure they can follow back home.
Patients also get daily lectures on different aspects of addiction so they can finally understand the illness, the compulsion, that has taken over their lives. These lectures give the patients a theoretical understanding of their addiction and helps them to realise that it's a disease with a specific treatment.
Follow this link to see an interview with Tony Marini, our lead crypto-addiction therapist: castlecraig.co.uk/resources/gambling/cryptocurrency-addiction/therapist/