Doping isn’t a word commonly associated with video games, but professional gamers are increasingly using drugs like Adderall.
The world’s largest video game event company, Electronic Sports League (ESL), informed its competitors last year of new drug-related restrictions after it was revealed that many gamers were using Adderall as a performance enhancing drug (PED).
Gaming is now a global phenomenon, and as popularity continues to thrive, video game addiction has also become a concern.
Although not officially recognized as a diagnosable disorder by the American Medical Association, gamers everywhere have become addicted to virtual worlds, leaving behind real-world activities and responsibilities.
And with large competitions around the world offering cash prizes to gamers, hand-eye coordination doesn’t always cut it. Sometimes Adderall is the edge gamers need.
Adderall’s effects intensify how gamers perform; they can execute actions with quick laser-like focus, increase predictability of opposing players’ actions, and maintain focus for extended periods of time.
The drug is a combination of methamphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which works as a neurotransmitter associated with movement, attention and pleasure.
Like all stimulants, Adderall increases dopamine levels. Video games, like Adderall, also increase dopamine levels, and simultaneous use could result in a feel-good addiction to dopamine, mentally and physically.
Adderall is a DEA Schedule II substance and has a high potential for abuse, which can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
However, most students nationwide don’t think Adderall is dangerous. According to a 2010 study, only two percent of students nationwide said Adderall was “very dangerous,” and 81 percent felt non-medical use was “not dangerous at all” or “slightly dangerous.”
Regardless of perception, the drug should be taken seriously, and it is never recommended for non-medical purposes like gaming.
New regulations for eSports
Recently, PEDs have become commonplace drugs in the world of eSports (professional gaming), so much so that prize-driven tournaments have announced pre-screenings for drugs such as Adderall.
These new precautionary measures garnered immediate action after a YouTube interview with Kory Friesen, a professional gamer, admitted that they, “were all on Adderall,” during a $250,000-prize tournament in Poland last year.