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Mental Illness and Trading
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Mental Illness and Trading

  #11 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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I too like Tymbeline and Leon think there may be a correlation between a certain ability to trade and the autism/Asperger spectrum.

Especially when it comes to all that advice about being able to trade unemotionally, I suspect certain people on the autism spectrum would be able to act and react in a much more disciplined manner. Certainly more than me!

There was a recent case of a guy in the UK who has been jailed because of Libor manipulation. He has Asperger's. I seem to remember another 2 examples but can't recall the details.
Anecdotal evidence, really.

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  #12 (permalink)
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xplorer View Post
I too like Tymbeline and Leon think there may be a correlation between a certain ability to trade and the autism/Asperger spectrum.

Especially when it comes to all that advice about being able to trade unemotionally, I suspect certain people on the autism spectrum would be able to act and react in a much more disciplined manner. Certainly more than me!

There was a recent case of a guy in the UK who has been jailed because of Libor manipulation. He has Asperger's. I seem to remember another 2 examples but can't recall the details.
Anecdotal evidence, really.

I think its probably important to separate autism and Aspberger's regardless of the current trend to lump them into the generic ASD, the dreaded 'spectrum'. My initial reaction from knowing a few autistic adults (not unbelievably rare Rainman-esque savants) is that they have dreadful short term memories (many other problems) and would be utterly lousy traders. I just googled and found below plus a wealth of other studies and sites supporting the same.

What distinguishes Aspergerís syndrome from autism (in the older view before ASD) is the severity and the absence of language and most (e.g. spatial) memory problems.

Basically Aspberger's is easiest understood as autism light or very light. These "working memory deficits" vary but someone with Aspbergers (a noticeable percentage if IT guys I worked with for example) typically pay a lot more attention to details that would be inane to everyone else. This can provide some real edge and may be of benefit to mechanical or programmer traders except.. they get just as freaked out by risk/money as everyone else and are less well able to deal with the emotions?

Meh.. there are always rare exceptions I expect.

I can highly recommend a book called The Reason I Jump which was originally written by an autistic Japanese kid and translated by David Mitchell. A wonderful writer who's wife is Japanese and has and autistic son. Whether the translation overly improved on the original or not, its a unique insight.

I however am writing this at 2:55 am as I have been awake, seeming without a moment of sleep since Thursday, 7th 2016. Into day 7, I have gone to 11 twice in my life before. I'm feeling a little mentally ill now though I'm trading quite brilliantly..


Temple Grandin: Choosing the Right Job | Autism Research Institute
"Table 1 Bad Jobs for People with High Functioning Autism or Asperger's Syndrome: Jobs that require high demands on short-term working memory

Cashier -- making change quickly puts too much demand on short-term working memory
Short order cook -- Have to keep track of many orders and cook many different things at the same time
Waitress -- Especially difficult if have to keep track of many different tables
Casino dealer -- Too many things to keep track of
Taxi dispatcher -- Too many things to keep track of
Taking oral dictation -- Difficult due to auditory processing problems
Airline ticket agent -- Deal with angry people when flights are cancelled
Future market trader -- Totally impossible
Air traffic controller -- Information overload and stress
Receptionist and telephone operator -- Would have problems when the switch board got busy
"

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  #13 (permalink)
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I also have schizoaffective disorder with bipolar as the mood part. I was finally accepted in Propex! I quit before starting though, as I would've had work from 6pm til 4-5am. And sleep is something that literally keeps me sane.


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This is proof of me being accepted into Propex as a trainee!




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Though I have to throw in my two cents about success in trading with a mental illness. It's harder but not impossible if you have a steady job that can take care of the bills whilst you swing trade in the evenings. When I last worked, I saved up $1k and traded the DAX CFD with a local broker and did very well. Made over $1100 in a week. I was tired as hell as I worked long hours in my day job, but the trading profits were nice!


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congrats gloria

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I also have schizoaffective disorder with bipolar as the mood part. I was finally accepted in Propex! I quit before starting though, as I would've had work from 6pm til 4-5am. And sleep is something that literally keeps me sane.

Its a pity, you can't take the opportunity, APAC timezones make US opening really impractical also. I sorely miss living on GMT sometimes as the Chicago open at 2.30pm was excellent and I like warming up on the Euro session. Living in Colombia now I match Chicago's timezone but I get up at 4am and work to 4-5 pm anyway. Colombia is great but it is a strain to integrate a weekend social life.

I put a lot of conscious effort and planning into good sleep quality. I suspect a lot of traders fail in this regard but thinking about one's life as more akin to a pro-athlete not an office worker helps.

I don't know very much about schizoaffective disorder however I have wondered (and never found a clear reason) about my occasional bouts of super sleeplessness. As a child my mother taught me to meditate as I had a worrying 2-3 hour sleep requirement. I was not hyper, I but I read a lot. After around 27 I started to get around 5-6 hours sleep on average (mercifully).

I should clarify that I'm certainly micro-napping but consciously unaware and I do still meditate. The two ultra extreme 11 day bouts (I'm not claiming a world record haha) were both initially related to a particular sleeping tablet that backfired weirdly on day 7 or 8. I expect I shall doze off at some point today.

Best of luck with trading but your being very sensible, sleep keeps us all sane

Disturbing coffee cat

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Agree with your perspective on sleep.

It does wonders for the brain and body.

It is the only time when we rebuild muscles and cells. Something magical about visiting dreamland, for me it "resets" my mind.

Exercise is really beneficial for the body too, no doubt. I'm really sensitive to caffeine/coffee but love the taste of it. I've tried bulletproof coffee (see Dave Asprey's website) and it's great for fat burning. Lost a few kilos in two weeks.

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gloricle View Post
I've tried bulletproof coffee (see Dave Asprey's website) and it's great for fat burning. Lost a few kilos in two weeks.

Thanks, never heard of the bulletproof coffee but buttery coffee must be delish.. I live in Colombia and have access to some phenomenal coffee.. hmmmm..

Interesting it contains medium chain fats. A Thai doctor friend of mine, 106 (at least..) and still ticking, has Cambodian style soup like this from Battambang for breakfast most days with coconut butter.


Last edited by Rory; January 14th, 2016 at 05:37 PM. Reason: link
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