SocraticGadfly: Adderall: At a Brave New Word office near you?

December 06, 2011

Adderall: At a Brave New Word office near you?

Who uses Adderall off-label? Potheads at Harvard are among highly likely candidates. NOT the A-listers, but the B/B-minus students who think they should be doing better. Especially if in fraternities. In other words, George W. Bush, back to the future.

But, not just the B-list Ivies. The story also cites using low-grade legal speed at the workplace, or even a 52-year-old married man, in night school, looking for that "edge." Or, a 74-year-old, apparently an archaeologist, who admitted to using modafinil as part of a letter to the editor at Nature. So, 5-10 years from now, is the workplace going to be a war zone, with different people looking for the right mix of Adderall, Ritalin and other such drugs?

Now, the article is more than two years old, but with our ongoing economic stagnation it is, if anything, even more relevant now than then.

Speaking of the office place, should we be worried? Are we going to have 55-year-olds having Ritalin-induced panic attacks? Or even mild coronaries? If "he's" taking 25 mg of X, shouldn't I be taking 35 mg? What happens when 35 mg of X "just isn't doing it" any more? (But, I can't be "addicted." Why? Because it's not supposed to be addicting.)

And, yeah, that friendly bit of advice, along with all the other stuff we now see with things like antidepressants, will be coming, too, if some people can make it happen. There's already marketing groups, groups to advise investment in different drug makers and more.

That said, there are stories at the high-school level about A-listers, not B-listers, using them. However, they're probably getting less benefit:
Martha Farah told me, “These drugs will definitely help some technically normal people—that is, people who don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for A.D.H.D. or any kind of cognitive impairment.” But, she emphasized, “they will help people in the lower end of the ability range more than in the higher end.”
As for other possible marketing claims, sorry, but the feds have already started studying the addiction possibiliy of modafinil (Provigil).

Meanwhile, since upper-middle-class and rich people can afford such things better, is this type of use of Adderall, etc., unethical? A form of "cheating"? Or, per another line in the story, especially here in America, could passing out these pills to high schoolers to stimulate focus be another quick fix, just like passing out the same pills to elementary students already is, to some degree?

Friend Leo Lincourt picks up on the "always on" issue for adults at the office, or flaking stone knappers at the archaeology field site. Especially the office, if if's in a field that's heavily globalized.

That's the problem ... the "always on," in the biz world, mixed with globalization, etc. Great. The coworker next to you is first running circles around you, then having a panic attack. The "uppers" side of Brave New World, eh?

And, per the end of the article, putting down some of the damned gadgets and simplifying our lives more might help some, eh?

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