What is Addiction?

Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity or substance, despite the harm it might be causing.

In the case of gambling, it is no different. The “high” you get from winning money becomes addictive and even when you start losing that money, the ecstasy of, “maybe this time I will win” is enough to keep you going until you have no money left at all. A gambling addiction is considered to be a behavioural addiction. Most people only understand the extent of addiction in terms of substance however, a behavioural addiction can range from gambling to sex to even the internet. The author of “Infinite Jest”, David Forster Wallace, claimed to have been addicted to television. Saying that, “television was just one iteration of entertainment as addiction”. Point being, that behavioural addictions are real and very understated – in some cases, people could experience withdrawal, including negative emotions and other symptoms, when they aren’t able to engage in the activity or behaviour that they are addicted to.

So, that begs the question, is trading considered gambling? I believe that if you do not follow a strategy then it could be considered gambling. Could one get addicted to trading? Well of course, however, when it comes to trading there is an exceptionally fine line between working hard and feeding the addiction. The line can mean making money (profitable trades) or gambling your money away.

Here are some signs that could that you might be addicted:

  • Smart traders use strategies and follow them. The goal is to make as much money as possible – your laptop is not a slot machine.
  • When you’re addicted you get so caught up in the chase for instant money that you end up make expensive and risky mistakes.
  • Due to the nature of addiction, you constantly need to experience that “high”. The amount always needs to get better, bigger and more often. When you hit your Take Profit you get a natural adrenaline rush, but the addicts have to make bigger and bigger trades, more and more often to keep that “high” coming.
  • Are you able to stop trading? The fact that trading is online, easily accessible and convenient makes it that much more possible to get addicted. Spending more than 12 hours in front of the screen is a problem. Its alright to watch the markets (we all do) but when you are constantly sitting and watching the market, fearful of missing a trade, there might be a problem. If you panic because you are away from your screen for a short period of time – you have a problem.

So in conclusion, remember that addiction comes in many shapes and forms. Take regular breaks from the market and enjoy some fresh air.

Happy Trading

Ryan Mowatt, The Performance Coach.

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