Adderall and gambling cause changes in the brain that make it difficult to stop misusing Adderall and quit gambling. 

Adderall misuse is on the rise among 18-to-25-year-olds. Young adults are also the highest risk group for problem gambling. Adderall and gambling both trigger the reward center in the brain. Thus it is not surprising that Adderall and gambling addiction, especially among young adults, is a large concern.

Individuals who took stimulants such as Adderall XR were almost three times as likely to engage in problem gambling.

Article at a Glance:

Adderall and gambling both affect the way the brain functions. Remember the following key points when considering how Adderall misuse and gambling addiction affect people:

  • Adderall affects the brain’s production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin
  • Gambling stimulates the brain’s reward system
  • Adderall misuse increases the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors like problem gambling
  • Because of their effects on the brain, Adderall misuse and problematic gambling are difficult to quit without help

The Relationship between Adderall and Gambling

Adderall acts on the central nervous system to produce elevated extracellular levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The increase in these neurotransmitters increases focus and relieves fatigue and improves mood. It is commonly prescribed as Adderall XR, an extended-release capsule, used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy.

Gambling is the act of risking something valuable to you, be it money or belongings, with the hope of receiving something of greater value. It stimulates the brain’s reward system and can lead to addiction. Gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, involves an uncontrollable urge to continue gambling even when it has a detrimental effect on a person’s life.

Young adults tend to falsely believe that misusing Adderall XR and gambling are harmless. In reality, both are addictive. Researchers discovered that the misuse of Adderall XR and gambling addiction are correlated. Individuals who took stimulants such as Adderall XR were almost three times as likely to engage in problem gambling than those who did not use stimulants (11% vs. 4%).

Dangers of Adderall and Gambling

An individual that uses Adderall may also gamble, or they may use Adderall while they gamble. Adderall, gambling and gambling while on Adderall each have their unique risks.

Effects of Adderall Misuse

Adderall is designed to help the brain work more efficiently. This medicine alters the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain. Since it affects how the brain functions, Adderall misuse can lead to physical and mental problems such as:

Effects of Problem Gambling

Gambling affects how the brain functions. When gambling becomes problematic, the physical urge to gamble can become unbearable. Attempts to satisfy the urge to gamble can result in risky behaviors that cause long-lasting consequences. Examples of problem gambling include:

Additional Effects of Problem Gambling with Adderall

In addition to the aforementioned effects, people who use Adderall are 75% more likely to develop a gambling addiction. Gamblers who use Adderall also tend to lose more money than gamblers who have not used Adderall.

Adderall and Gambling on College Campuses

Adderall misuse and gambling addiction are a major problem on college campuses. Only marijuana is used more often than Adderall by college students. Students believe Adderall to be a safe performance drug, though there is not much actual evidence supporting that claim. Students struggling academically may seek out Adderall to improve their studying abilities, though those who misuse Adderall have lower GPAs on average. College students may also abuse Adderall to enhance the experience of partying or for athletic performance.

Regular use of Adderall, even if prescribed, lowers impulse control and increases the likelihood that a student engages in high-risk activities, such as gambling. It is easier than ever for students to find opportunities to gamble as internet gambling, lotteries and casinos are widely accessible. Seventy-five percent of college students have gambled and the use of Adderall increases the chances of those students developing a gambling addiction. In general, Adderall increases the severity of gambling problems.

Adderall Addiction and Gambling Addiction Treatment

Overcoming Adderall addiction and gambling addiction can be difficult without support.

Over time, the misuse of Adderall and other stimulants results in the body becoming dependent. Adderall cessation can result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Since Adderall acts on the brain to improve energy levels and mood, the brain can react with extreme fatigue, drowsiness, depression and suicidal thoughts when Adderall is no longer provided.

It is important to understand that gambling addiction is similar to substance addictions. Gambling activates and alters the part of the brain involved in the reward pathway. The brain reacts physiologically to quitting gambling, and attempts to abstain can lead to:

  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Disappointment
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration and obsessive thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Loss of appetite

The treatments found to be successful for Adderall addiction and gambling addiction are similar, and include:

Co-occurring Adderall addiction and gambling addiction physically affect the brain. Support while quitting Adderall and gambling is important to avoid dangerous side effects.

If you or someone you love struggles with Adderall and gambling addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about the treatment options for Adderall and gambling addiction. You deserve a healthier future, call today.

Thomas Christiansen
Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.