Monday, April 28, 2014

The Greatest Cause of Trading Problems That No One Talks About

Sometimes good trading can fall apart and it's not because of lack of discipline and planning.  It's not because of trading the wrong information or setups.  It's not because markets have radically changed.

No, sometimes trading can fall apart because we are falling apart.  That is a reason for trading problems that very few mentors and coaches address.

Consider the facts:

*  Every year, more than 1 in 6 Americans will experience a diagnosable emotional disorder.

About 6% of the population experiences a severe emotional disorder during a given year.

*  According to the World Health Organization, emotional disorders are a greater cause of disability than any other medical condition, including cancer and heart disease.

Over 30% of the U.S. population will experience a diagnosable anxiety condition during their lifetime.

Over 20% of the population will experience a diagnosable mood condition during their lifetime.

Don't believe it?  Consider this:

I ran a student counseling program at a medical school for 19 years.  This was a motivated, bright, capable group of students.  Fully 15% of them made use of counseling services each year.  About a third of that group utilized the services for a significant emotional disorder.

I sincerely doubt that the universe of traders is any more immune to emotional problems than the universe of physicians in training.  If over 5% of medical students--and about 18% of people overall--experience a diagnosable emotional disorder in a given year, I suspect the same can be said for a significant number of traders.

I recall meeting with one trader who had sought prior coaching, but had not found the meetings helpful.  In our first meeting, I asked a group of questions and the answers I received led me to believe that the trader was experiencing a form of bipolar disorder (bipolar 2).  The recurring mood swings were wreaking havoc with trading.  A consultation with a psychiatrist confirmed the diagnostic impression, the trader started on a course of medication and therapy, and soon the trading problems came to an end.

Not because of any fresh discipline, and not because of any new trading methods.

Sometimes an emotional problem really is an emotional problem.

If you are going through turmoil and have a family history of anxiety, depression, or other emotional problems; if you experience those problems outside of your trading, across different areas of your life; and/or if you have a personal history of emotional upheavals, consider reaching out for help.  It could be the greatest investment in your trading career you could make.

Further Reading:  The Problem of Addictive Trading