The Dark Side of Life Trading Cryptocurrency Includes Insomnia, Addiction, and Depression

When Joanna Garzilli was in Venice, Calif., for a holiday party in 2017, the bikini-clad dancers were on stilts, the drinks were flowing and the conversation was about one thing: cryptocurrency. It seemed so sexy, she remembered thinking. Lured by the glamorous crowd, she later invested and struck it big: an $85,000 profit from a crypto coin called GRT, bringing on dreams of life at the Ritz-Carlton Residences.

But soon, her trades became reckless, she said. Garzilli staked 90 percent of her life savings into a coin that lost her tens of thousands in days. She made risky investments into viral meme currency and constantly checked her trading apps to see how much money she’d made or lost. Her nights became sleepless, but Garzilli kept chasing the next big payday.

“Crypto is like going into Hades,” she said. “Crypto can bring out the darkest parts of ourselves if we have an addictive personality; and I have a very addictive personality.”

As the cryptocurrency boom has swollen the ranks of everyday investors chasing a life of mansions and yachts, mental health experts say it is sparking a rise in addiction. Price spikes and dips provide a level of excitement hard to replicate through the most volatile stocks and bonds. The highly unstable nature of cryptocurrency can reduce profits to zero in a flash, leaving investors with mountains of debt, fractured relationships and thoughts of suicide, addiction experts said.

Therapists, such as Aaron Sternlicht of New York, say they are seeing an influx of people seeking help for crypto addiction, though treatment is available for only a privileged few.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Pranshu Verma

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