A treatment centre is opening in the Scottish Borders to treat people who are addicted to trading cryptocurrencies.
The residential treatment course for “crypto addicts” is based in Castle Craig Hospital in Peeblesshire.
The medical facility already runs treatment programmes for drug and alcohol addiction and hopes to treat people addicted to trading cryptocurrencies with techniques developed for gambling addicts.
According to experts, cryptocurrency trading addicts show the same kind of behavioural addictions as problem gamblers.
Although there are no figures available for the number of people addicted to cryptocurrency trading, millions of people worldwide are considered traders.
Chris Burn, a gambling therapist at Castle Craig Hospital, said: “The high risk, fluctuating cryptocurrency market appeals to the problem gambler.
“It provides excitement and an escape from reality. Bitcoin, for example, has been heavily traded and huge gains and losses were made. It’s a classic bubble situation.”
Tony Marini, a former gambling and cocaine addict who is now a therapist, will lead some treatments at the centre.
He said that introducing life structure is key for addicts.
“Having been through it myself, my experience of addiction gives me insight and empathy towards others who have the same problem,” Mr Marini said.
“I see cryptocurrency trading as a way for people to escape from themselves, into another world, because they don’t like the world they’re in.
“The first stage of treatment is to join other addicts in group therapy and share their life stories. This helps them identify with each other and realise that they’re not alone.”