SEOUL, May 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Increasing number of younger South Koreans are struggling with frustration over investment in the so-called ‘altcoins’, low-price and high-risk cryptocurrencies.
Many university students and recent lower-income graduates are showing up at hospitals to treat psychological stress caused by fluctuations in altcoin prices.
An individual referred to only as Song, recently visited a psychiatrist after experiencing insomnia and anxiety disorder after purchasing altcoins with the money he saved up since early this year.
“Since I don’t earn a regular income, I get obsessed with the money I lost. It even seems to make me sick,” the 23-year-old said. “A lot of my friends who invest in coins are facing a similar problem.”
Some even borrowed money to invest in coins. For them, selling their purchased coins at the expense of their loss isn’t an option, which often results in sheer frustration.
The state-run Korea Center on Gambling Problems reported 1,362 cases of consultations related to addiction to Bitcoin and stock investment between January and March, doubling since last year (659 cases).
Experts argue that altcoins are similar to gambling because of their extreme volatility. Investors need treatment as soon as they begin to experience these addictive symptoms, they say.
“This coin fever’s largest problem is that it takes a toll on one’s mental health as well as his/her life,” said Lee Hwa-young, a professor of psychiatry at Soonchunhyang University Hospital.
“It even deprives people of the sense of worth they get as they work, which is even more concerning in the long term.”
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)