For the last decade, cryptocurrency has become a key part of financial markets and mass culture. Its market price rose from $5.4 billion to $1.8 trillion according to Coin Market Cap – a site that displays cryptocurrency statistics. Meanwhile, celebrities generously advertise luxury way of life, which crypto can secure.

According to the opinion of the scientists, the cryptocurrency is more likely to turn into an addiction similar as sports betting, gambling and traditional financial investments, reports The Washington Post.You can use it 24/7, unlike most stocks. You don’t need to go to a casino to place a bet. Changes in crypto prices, especially for alternative currencies, can be quick and give the brain an instant sense of reward. Due to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, it is also becoming easier to hide the financial effects of dependence.

In recent months, Matt Damon has been advertising – an application, which helps to trade cryptocurrency. Other celebrities promote the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Influencers on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter show life filled with first-class flights, luxurious rooftop pools, and many more, confirming the ability of cryptocurrencies to get rich.

Lia Nower, director of gambling studies at Rutgers University, says that attractive applications for investment increase the development of dependence. Bright real-time graphics make buying cryptocurrencies similar to a video game.

“They know what it is to get people more engrossed in something — that high action, that quick turnover with that positive reward. It’s why people like lottery scratch-off tickets, because they can scratch madly and they get their reward in that second and that gives you a burst of dopamine. These people (dependent on the cryptocurrency) are doing a similar thing,” says the expert.

Therapists have noticed an increase in the number of those seeking help with crypto addiction. A couple of therapists from New York who treat cryptocurrency addiction say that the demand for their services has increased by 40%. People from all over the world need help.

At the same time, treatment is available to a privileged minority. The services of these therapists cost $2,500 per consultation. A 45-day treatment plan that is more intensive than conventional “talk” therapy costs $25,000. To get rid of the addiction, they meet with family members, have access to bank accounts, and see patients several times a week.

Most people come to them for help when they already have six-figure debts, have broken down their relationships, have experienced severe depression, and have other addictions, such as alcohol, cocaine, and so on. In addition, therapists are approached by quite wealthy people. Those who do not have significant wealth may find it more difficult to obtain treatment.

Although research is still ongoing, the last few confirm the link between cryptocurrency trading and dependency. In April, a group of Finnish researchers proved that those who trade cryptocurrencies are also heavily addicted to gambling, video games, and the Internet. Most often, crypto traders are immigrants who have a higher level of psychological stress and loneliness compared to stock traders.

The American Psychiatric Association did not classify cryptocurrency addiction as a subspecies of gambling addiction. Not enough research has been done yet. However, Lia Nower says people with crypto addiction can get help from a gambling consultant.

“What you’re really addicted to is the action of taking the risk. Anybody who’s a good treatment provider for gambling can treat crypto addiction,” she said.