In the modern era, video games have become a popular pastime for teens, 20-somethings and beyond. In fact, a whole subculture now exists within the e-sports realm; where the country’s best gamers compete in online tournaments and battles. That’s all fine of course, except for that fact that addictions are creeping into this world; particularly the prescription drug Adderall.
The Washington Post recently covered the emerging trend of Adderall addiction among gamers and e-sports players. Primarily known to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD), Adderall is also commonly used to combat tiredness and has long been associated with students pulling “all nighters” to study for tests or finish assignments. In the gaming world, however, it’s purpose is to keep competitors awake for hours on end as they advance levels in their online tournaments.
This, according to leading physicians and medical professionals, is leading to a serious problem and can have major health-related side effects for the young players popping pills. Maria St. Pierre, a clinical project manager at the Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, offered a stern warning when speaking with The Post. She likened Adderall to performance enhancing drugs in sports and believes its use is now rampant among professional gamers.
“In the gaming world, they like to use it as an enhancer to gain an advantage over their opponents,” St. Pierre explained. “Those taking Adderall have an unfair advantage over someone who is not taking Adderall or any other stimulants. And let’s keep in mind that taking any medication that is not prescribed to you can have long-lasting, detrimental effects. Physically, Adderall is like taking speed or meth. … Psychologically, not only is it a highly addictive drug, but it can also cause psychosis and paranoia.”
As The Post article explained, Adderall within esports is extremely common. Speaking under anonymity, several top players admitted to using the drug regularly. Unlike regular sports, though, there are no real ways to test players for usage; since all of the gaming is done remotely.
The Post piece ultimately calls upon leading game organizations (such as the Fortnite League and the Overwatch League) to take stronger measures to weed out Adderrall abusers. Now that is easier said than done, but we most certainly agree that more action needs to be taken. These types of tournaments have become extremely competitive and tragically, the urge to win can easily take a player down the road of addiction.