Although documented statistics about cryptocurrency trading and substance abuse are hard to come by, addiction experts are treating an increasing number of crypto traders.
Abdullah Boulard, founder and CEO at The Balance Luxury Rehab, tells Magazine that a number of crypto traders struggle with substance abuse. “Our client base is diverse, but this is a unique demographic that we’ve seen an increase in over the recent years,” Boulard says.
According to Boulard, the high intensity of cryptocurrency trading combined with 24/7 accessibility encourages some to use stimulants to keep up the pace. “Substances like amphetamines, cocaine and even excessive caffeine use are common among these individuals,” says Boulard.
Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, tweeted about the use of stimulants in April 2021.
New York Magazine subsequently reported that a successful trader who met with Ellison commented about her use of stimulants and their overall effects on members of the community. “Crypto really fucked with a lot of people’s perceptions of money. A lot of stuff doesn’t feel real. And if you add speed …”
Prior to that, in September 2019, the former CEO of disgraced cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, tweeted about his use of stimulants and sleeping pills.
What goes up, must come down
Boulard also sees a lot of patients who use benzodiazepines. Street-named “downers” or “benzos,” benzodiazepines include commonly used drugs like Xanax, Valium and Ativan.
He believes that traders use these prescription drugs to cope with anxiety and insomnia, symptoms likely created by the highs and lows of trading and by the use of the stimulants. Boulard says that alcohol is used for the same purpose.
Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers agrees. Weinstein tells Magazine, “Alcohol use disorder is also common among those with a gambling disorder, of which cryptocurrency trading is a…