When most people think of investing in risk assets such as equities, Forex, cryptocurrencies, or other markets, they generally think monetarily – financial gain versus financial loss. While investing in or trading financial instruments does have a direct impact on your net worth, there are other consequences as well. Investing and trading can become a highly problematic behavior, develop into an addiction, and result in significant consequences well beyond mere financial loss.
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What Is Day Trading Addiction?
Day trading addiction refers to an individual becoming dependent on their behavior surrounding investing to the point that it interferes with their daily life, careers, relationships, mental health and ability to function. It involves the obsessive, compulsive and uncontrolled behavior of buying and selling financial instruments, and can also involve a preoccupation with watching price movements, checking positions, excessive technical analysis, or obsessively researching financial news and indicators via mainstream news, social media, online forums, or other such resources.
While day trading focuses on short-term gains, investing focuses on longer-term growth. Nonetheless, it is important to note that investing, even with a long-term outlook, can also be problematic or addictive as individuals can still be preoccupied with their portfolios, technical analysis and financial news, resulting in significant distraction from life responsibility and impairment to their daily lives.
Due to the volatility of risk assets that can result in significant financial gain, problematic investing and trading is most commonly seen in options, futures, stocks, commodities, and Forex, as well as an exponential growing issue in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other alternative coins. Risk can be exacerbated by trading with leverage, and can be done by taking long as well as short positions.
Cryptocurrency addiction and other forms of day trading addiction have become more common in recent years, especially due to the influx of retail investors as a result of easy access via various online exchanges. The pandemic has served to exacerbate this issue as individuals turned to day trading as an additional source of income during lockdowns, and the issue has persisted thereafter.
Addiction specialists consider day trading addiction to be classified as a gambling addiction, and subsequently is diagnosed and treated as such. However, more research is needed in the areas of day trading addiction and cryptocurrency addiction for better addiction treatment practices and outcomes.
Day trading addiction can also be referred to as problematic day trading (any day trading that results in a life problem), binge day trading (any excessive day trading that is isolated to certain periods of time be it weeks or months apart), compulsive day trading, or pathological day trading.
Beyond Mere Financial Loss..
The obvious consequence of a day trading addiction to stocks, cryptocurrency, Forex or other instruments is financial loss, but the repercussions of a day trading addiction or cryptocurrency addiction can be far more pervasive. For starters, financial loss in itself is correlated with depression, low mood and suicidality. In fact, of all the various forms of addiction that exist, gambling addictions have the highest rates of suicide, and therefore day trading addictions are an issue that individuals should not take lightly.
Individuals can find themselves in such a deep financial hole that they come to feel hopeless and helpless. Due to the high rates of suicide among this demographic it is imperative that individuals who struggle with a day trading addiction or cryptocurrency addiction seek out professional help immediately, or call 911 or 988 if they feel they may harm themselves or someone else.
Beyond mere financial loss, consequences of problematic day trading or day trading addiction may include but are not limited to:
- Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, irritability, ADHD, and other psychological issues.
- Substance abuse issues such as with alcohol, cocaine, or amphetamines
- Physical health issues such as headaches, back or neck aches, as well as malnourishment.Additionally, risk of health concerns as a result of promoting an indoor sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise can result in weight gain and obesity, poor posture, vitamin D deficiency, or increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Educational or career problems as a result of hyperfocus on respective markets that are being traded or invested in and serving as a distraction from work and career/educational goals.
- Deterioration of relationships with friends, family and colleagues as a result of isolation, increased irritability and agitation with others, lack of communication, lying, manipulating and declining social engagement.
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Sleep issues or insomnia
- Failure to perform responsibilities, avoiding or procrastinating obligations resulting in various life problems.
- Evasion of emotions resulting in emotional instability and poor coping skills
- Increased aggression or mood swings as a result of losses or from disconnecting from day trading activities.
What Are The Signs of a Day Trading Addiction?
Individuals who experience a problematic relationship with day trading are likely to progress in their addiction without an awareness of their issue and a desire to stop. As such, it is important to recognize signs of a day trading addiction in order to address the issue immediately before it gets worse.
Signs of a day trading addiction may include:
- Failed attempts at stopping or moderating day trading and related trading activities.
- Thinking about day trading when you are not engaged in trading related activities (preoccupation).
- Feeling guilty, shameful or regret about behaviors associated with day trading.
- Spending more money or time day trading than intended.
- Requiring more time or money day trading to satisfy the desire to trade or to receive the same pleasurable effect as from earlier periods of day trading (tolerance).
- Investing in new and riskier financial instruments, increasing leverage in a trade, breaking investment strategies or rules that you set for yourself, or other methods of increased risk-taking.
- Hiding your day trading from loved ones, colleagues, or superiors.
- Day trading to escape real life problems.
- Lying, stealing, or engaging in other manipulative or immoral behavior to day trade.
- Using money to day trade instead of on responsibilities such as food or bills, or using money that you don’t have such as through credit or loans from financial institutions or borrowing money from friends or family.
- Difficulty concentrating on important activities such as work or school as a result of day trading.
- Loss of interest in non-related day trading activities, especially ones that you used to find pleasurable.
- Experiencing negative mental health or physical health effects when not day trading such as anxiety or irritability (withdrawal).
- Neglecting personal hygiene or physical and mental health at the expense of day trading.
- Difficulty relaxing or sleeping due to day trading.
What Can I Do If I Have A Day Trading Addiction?
The first step to addressing a day trading addiction is an awareness that day trading is problematic for you and a desire to change that behavior. With awareness and desire established, there are many steps you can take on your own or with support to moderate trading or abstain from trading altogether. Attempts at moderation often work best with a period of abstinence for at least 4 to 12 weeks, but in many cases moderation is not practical or feasible. Some constructive steps you can take to resolve your day trading addiction may include, but are not limited to:
- Implementing and following a healthy daily structure and routine. This should include a regular sleep and wake routine, scheduling meals and activities, and implementation of exercise, nutrition, and self-care.
- Deleting all day trading related platforms from your mobile device and computer. This includes social media or websites affiliated with financial markets that may trigger thoughts of trading, as well as staying away from potentially triggering financial media via television, radio or press. Those who work in the financial sector should limit their exposure to work-related tasks within the workday.
- Allowing a trusted loved one to monitor or oversee digital usage via screen time applications.
- Allowing a trusted loved one to monitor or oversee finances and all bank accounts and investment portfolios.
- Handing over your investments to a professional money manager or trusted loved one. Cryptocurrency wallets and keys should be secured and out of easy access, ideally with a loved one or in a security deposit box.
- Postponing the urge to day trade or engage in day trading related activities. Cravings to day trade can pass, and regularly delaying the urge to day trade will help with impulse control.
- Developing healthy coping skills including but not limited to verbalizing thoughts and emotions with a support system, cooking and eating nutritious meals, exercising and engaging with nature, and meditation, among other forms of self-care.
- Engaging in hobbies and leisure activities including spending time outside and socializing.
- Placing digital devices out of the bedroom and in the presence of a supportive loved one.
- Being open with family, friends, and even colleagues if appropriate about your problem with day trading and seeking their support.
- Attending mutual help groups such as SMART Recovery or Gamblers Anonymous. Meetings are free and can be found in-person locally or virtually worldwide via their respective website.
- Being mindful to not develop alternative unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, other forms of gambling, other technology addictions such as video games, or alcohol or drug use among other addictions.
If day trading is excessive and causing impairment, and if an individual is unable to moderate or abstain from day trading on their own, professional help from a day trading addiction specialist or cryptocurrency addiction specialist is recommended.
If you found this information useful, you may also enjoy reading:
The Ultimate Guide to Day Trading Addiction and Recovery
Bitcoin Addiction – 11 Reasons Why Cryptocurrency Trading Can Be Highly Addictive
How To Support a Loved One With a Cryptocurrency Addiction
Staring at Charts: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Addiction
For more information on day trading addiction treatment, cryptocurrency addiction treatment and to find the best day trading addiction counselor near you, or for general therapy and mental health counseling, or to inquire about Family Addiction Specialist’s private concierge sober coach services, recovery coach services, sober companion services, addiction therapy services and/or teletherapy services (online therapy/virtual therapy) for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, cryptocurrency addiction or other forms of digital addiction and technology addiction please contact Family Addiction Specialist’s undisclosed private therapy office in the Upper East Side of New York City today at (929) 220-2912. Family Addiction Specialist serves clients in Manhattan and the surrounding NYC area, as well as concierge or virtual services worldwide.