Crypto addiction: The reality behind the seemingly glamorous social media currency

ITV News gained exclusive access to the UK's first crypto addiction rehabilitation centre Castle Craig, as Peter Smith reports

While social media portrays crypto investment as a world of fast money, super cars and luxury, for some people it represents huge financial and personal losses.

Crypto is a digital form of currency, which people can invest in and exchange, but it is not regulated or maintained by banks or the government.

Around 10% of adults in the UK own crypto assets - that's more than double the number in 2021.

But with more people investing, the number of people struggling with crypto addiction has risen too.

ITV News gained exclusive access to the UK's first crypto addiction rehabilitation centre, Castle Craig, which is nestled in the countryside in the Scottish borders.

"I became infatuated with the whole thing," a crypto investor, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke to ITV News' Peter Smith

One crypto-investor being treated at Castle Craig, who asked to be referred to as Chris said: "It's just quick wins but also quick losses, more losses if I'm honest."

He told ITV News that he had lost about £20,000 this year already.

"Eventually it lead me to nearly losing everything, I managed to sort things out before that point," Chris said.

"[I nearly lost] my job, my relationships, friendships - I lost all my relationships. I became infatuated with the whole thing."

The rehabilitation centre treats crypto-addicts in a similar way to as if their dependency is to drugs or gambling, rather than a financial investment.

Tony Marini who works at Castle Craig crypto addiction rehabilitation centre. Credit: ITV News

Castle Craig Senior Specialist Therapist Tony Marini said: "The regulated stock market is not as volatile, but with crypto things are going up and down in seconds, so you're getting more of a rush.

"It's like a cocaine addict taking a line of cocaine, it's exactly the same as what crypto addiction does.

"It's predominantly 18-35 year-old young men, with good jobs, most of them think they know what they're doing."

Donald Cameron a crypto expert from Crypto Glasgow. Credit: ITV News

The UK government does not regulate crypto in the same way as gambling.

In a statement the Treasury said: "Risks posed by crypto are typical of those that exist in traditional financial services and it is financial services regulation - rather than gambling regulation - the has the track record in mitigating them."

Crypto experts have said more education is needed for people wanting to invest responsibly in the digital currency.

Donald Cameron of Crypto-Glasgow told ITV News: "You need to educate a bit at least, or at least spend time around the market before deciding if its for me or not for me."

Help is available if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction

  • For more information on Castle Craig visit its website or call 0808 115 5189

  • GamCare offers free information, support and counselling for people who have problems with gambling in the UK. It runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and also offers face-to-face counselling. The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Gamblers Anonymous runs local support groups that use the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • The NHS has a dedicated information page recommending GPs and local charities who can offer support.

  • The mental health charity Mind also offers support on their website.

  • Talk To Frank has a dedicated page where people can enter their location and will be presented with places nearby they can do to get support.

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