Problematic Crypto Trading: Guide For Parents

two red-and-white dices
two red-and-white dices

Problematic Crypto Trading: Guide For Parents


This post is intended for caring parents who may have concerns about their child's involvement in crypto trading.

In today's world, smartphones have revolutionized various aspects of our lives, making tasks like shopping, staying connected with friends, and managing finances more convenient than ever. However, along with these benefits, our beloved smartphones also provide unprecedented access to enticing (sometimes addicting) opportunities, such as cryptocurrency.

As caregivers and loved ones, it's crucial to approach this issue with empathy and understanding, guiding those we care about towards informed and responsible decision-making.

Crypto Basics

So how big is crypto? Just how many people are trading crypto, you might be wondering. Let's look at the US-based exchange Coinbase.

In March 2023, Coinbase had 98 million users worldwide and 9 million monthly active users.

Y'all catch that?

Nine million people use Coinbase on a monthly basis to trade crypto.

That's a lot of people and it tells us there's a good chance you know someone who trades crypto.

Gambling Disorder

Ok, but why bring up gambling disorder? Well, there are similar dynamics at play in crypto trading and gambling, with similar groups involved in both. We'll get to those.

First, we have to examine problem gambling. So, what is it?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, gambling disorder "involves repeated, problem gambling behavior. The behavior leads to problems for the individual, families, and society. Adults and adolescents with gambling disorder have trouble controlling their gambling. They will continue even when it causes significant problems."

Here's what it takes to be diagnosed with gambling disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association:

Problematic Crypto Trading

Problematic crypto trading often looks like problematic gambling because it's highly speculative and inherently risky, much like gambling.

According to YaleMedicine (the clinical practice for the Yale School of Medicine) the sex and age of crypto traders is similar to those in gambling. Both men and younger people are more likely to have risk factors for gambling disorder.

The Pew Research Center confirms this.

Let's examing some other ways crypto trading resembles gambling.

Uncertain Outcomes

Like gambling, investing in cryptocurrencies can have uncertain outcomes. The value of cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile, leading to significant gains or losses within short periods.

High-Risk Ventures

Crypto investments often involve high risks. Like in gambling, individuals may be enticed by the potential for quick and substantial profits, sometimes overlooking the possibility of substantial financial losses.

Emotional Rollercoaster

Both crypto and gambling can evoke intense emotions. Investors may experience exhilaration during periods of growth, but also anxiety, stress, or disappointment during market downturns.

Addiction Potential

For some individuals, the excitement and thrill of trading cryptocurrencies can become addictive. The constant monitoring of prices, chasing losses, and seeking quick gains can resemble behaviors seen in gambling addiction.

Speculative Nature

Speculation plays a big role in both crypto and gambling activities. People may invest based on rumors, tips, or unverified information, hoping to make significant gains. This speculative behavior can be similar to gambling strategies that rely on chance and luck.

Warning Signs

If you're worried that someone you care about might be having trouble with crypto trading, keep an eye out for these signs.

  • Obsessive Behavior: Pay attention if your loved one becomes consumed with checking crypto prices, reading about market trends, or constantly discussing investments.

  • Financial Problems: Look for signs of financial distress, such as borrowing money, selling personal belongings, or unexplained financial difficulties that may indicate significant losses in crypto investments.

  • Emotional Distress: Notice changes in mood, increased irritability, anxiety, or depression that may be related to crypto investment outcomes.

  • Neglecting Responsibilities: If your loved one begins to neglect work, studies, or personal relationships due to excessive involvement with cryptocurrencies, it could be cause for concern.

  • Secrecy and Isolation: Watch for signs of secrecy regarding their crypto activities or a withdrawal from social activities, hobbies, or interests they previously enjoyed.

  • Impaired Judgment: Be alert if your loved one consistently makes impulsive or high-risk investment decisions without considering the potential consequences.

Seek Professional Help

If you observe these signs in your loved one, they may be engaging in problematic crypto trading.

What can you do? Encourage them to seek professional help, such as counseling or therapy, specifically tailored to addiction or gambling-related issues.

Try to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and support, as addiction and financial struggles can be challenging for individuals to confront on their own.

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of information provided on this website.

If this is an emergency, dial 911.