Inside the world of high-end crypto rehab centers, where a 4-week stay can cost you $320,000 and no luxury is spared
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- Bitcoin began trading at $0.0008 in July 2010. Prices peaked at over $64,000 in November 2021.
- While the industry made a few people very rich, it also came with problems — including addiction.
It's been a big, rocky decade for crypto.
One way to gauge its popularity is to look at its prices — Bitcoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, began trading at $0.0008 in July 2010. Prices peaked at over $64,000 in November 2021. Today, it's just over $27,000.
It hasn't always been smooth sailing. Crypto is currently weathering a cruel winter with depressed prices, scandals, and layoffs. Silvergate Capital — which used to be the go-to bank for the biggest names in crypto — said on March 3 it plans to write off its assets and wind down its business, becoming one of the first mainstream victims of the crypto crash.
A few days later, Silicon Valley Bank and crypto-friendly Signature Bank, New York collapsed, rattling the banking sector and sparking fears of a contagion that could lead to the next global financial crisis.
And while the industry made a few people very rich, it also came with problems — including addiction.
Enter: luxury crypto rehab centers.
Below, we've taken a look at the price tags and offerings at three luxury crypto centers around the globe, each of which claims to be the best in its field.
The Balance: A 4-week stay starting at $192,000
"With crypto addiction, it's all the time around the clock, and there is no market closing," Abdullah Boulad, the founder and CEO of The Balance, a luxury crypto rehab center, told Insider. "That's why we say it's like a casino in your pocket," he added.
Boulad started the crypto program roughly six years ago in Switzerland and said he sees about a hundred clients a year. Most of these are entrepreneurs between the ages of 30 and 45 and are mostly men, he said.
Today, The Balance has 10 properties across Spain, the UK, and Switzerland. It calls itself the "world's best luxury rehab center and mental health clinic" and a "safe haven where you can find recovery, peace, rest, and happiness." People in the rehab program get access to a personal manager, a chef, and 70 specialists such as doctors, psychologists, and psychotherapists, per Boulad.
It doesn't come cheap: A typical four-week crypto rehab program at The Balance costs between 180,000 euros and 300,000 euros, or $192,000 and $320,000.
Each of The Balance's treatment villas has a pool, and is situated either in the countryside or on the beach, Boulad said. It also offers treatments for alcoholism, drug abuse, and detoxes, as well as a program aimed at celebrities in rehab.
The Diamond: $25,000 for 28 days of treatment
In Asia, $25,000 for 28 days will get you an "ultra made to measure" treatment at The Diamond, a luxury rehab center in Phuket, Thailand, its managing director, Theo de Vries, told Insider.
Here, 15 rooms sit atop a mountain overlooking the Andaman Sea. De Vries said clients have access to five clinical psychologists, four clinical addiction counselors, one psychiatrist, 24-7 nursing staff, four clinical support staff, and eight 5-star Thai hospitality staff members.
And then there's the property's luxury offerings: a spa, golfing, boat trips, and sporting activities.
"Whatever is possible without using drugs or alcohol," de Vries said, adding: "Phuket is the perfect location for this kind of clientele."
The Diamond started offering crypto rehab services at the beginning of 2021. About one in 40 inquiries de Vries gets is about crypto addiction, he said. These inquiries seem to remain constant, irrespective of market fluctuations, he said.
Paracelsus Recovery: $100,000 per week for a 4-week program
At about $100,000 a week, Paracelsus Recovery offers a four-week residential treatment program to treat crypto addiction.
Paracelsus started offering the treatment in 2020, CEO Jan Gerber told Insider.
Paracelsus — which owns four residences in Zurich, Switzerland — offers lakefront properties, complete with a "private chef and maid, a private client suite within the residence, and a separate suite for a 24-hour live-in therapist," per Gerber.
Services at Paracelsus include the use of Bentley limousines and a dedicated driver for appointments or excursions, Gerber added. They can even arrange a piano for a client who would like to hone their skills and set up high-end sound systems, gaming consoles, VR, and even Netflix for the clients, he said.
Since 2020, the center has treated two or three clients annually for crypto addiction.
Does crypto rehab work?
Mark Griffiths, a professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University, told Insider that he sees crypto trading as a sub-variety of gambling, and therefore sees an addiction to crypto as an addiction to gambling. He says those who are addicted to crypto display six criteria:
- Salience — crypto trading is the most important thing in their life and they are totally preoccupied with it;
- Conflict — crypto trading conflicts with other important things in life such as relationships, occupation and/or education;
- Withdrawal — they experience withdrawal symptoms if they are unable to engage in crypto trading;
- Mood modification — they use crypto trading as a way to change their mood state;
- Tolerance — over time, they have increased the amount of trading they do daily; and
- Relapse — if a person gives up trading for some time, when they do it again, they go straight back into the addictive cycles they were in previously.
"If anyone fulfills all these six criteria, I would class them as being addicted," Griffiths said. "If they only endorse some of them, I would view them as having a problem with crypto trading rather than being addicted."
"The number of people likely to be genuinely addicted to this is likely to be very small," he added.
Anna Lembke, a psychiatry professor at Stanford University and the head of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, told the BBC in February that the treatment for crypto addiction is similar to other addictions.
"It's a biopsychosocial disease so it requires a biopsychosocial intervention: medications in some cases, individual and group psychotherapy, changing habits and environment, implementing healthier replacement activities," she told the news outlet.
De Vries said the treatment works: "People got clean. They changed their whole lifestyle. They got families again, and they're happy because we solved the underlying issues," he said, adding.
The Balance's Boulad said people can get out of crypto addiction by working on behavioral patterns and living a balanced life, but relapses do occur. He estimated the relapse rate is around 20-30% for this type of treatment.
Gerber of Paracelsus said relapse risks are higher for professional traders or those who previously made a living from trading.
"To find a way to 'healthy' trading, with constant exposure to the dynamics of the trade, is very difficult. Complete abstinence is always the safest bet with an addiction, but not the only way," he added.
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