Adults Using Adderall to Gain an Edge, Not Treat ADHD

Neuroscientists, ethicists, and general medical practitioners generally have a negative opinion of a future in which we're all popping pills to gain an edge at work.

Stimulants like Adderall were once limited to treating so-called deficient attention spans in young people, and then the drugs became a popular (and illicit) study aid across college campuses — now it's increasingly used by healthy adults to gain an edge in the workplace.


The New York Times hosted a provocative debate over the future of performance-enhancing drugs; not in the arena of sports, where entire institutions exist to draw athletes' blood and analyze their pee, but in the professional world where very little regulation exists.

Big Think expert and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz says that stimulants do not simply bring people up to a normal level of functioning. Anyone who takes them will experience a boost in mental powers, which is perhaps what frightens those who envision a highly competitive workplace fueled by drugs like Adderall.


Even when I was an undergrad (about 10 years ago), everyone seemed to know at least one person with an Adderall prescription. And the Times reports that adults can basically badger their doctors into prescribing the drug (how do those awkward conversations go?).

Neuroscientists, ethicists, and medical practitioners generally have a negative opinion of a future in which we're all popping pills to gain at edge at work. In college, I remember friends putting off studying because they could simply take an Adderall and cram the night before.

Anjan Chatterjee, chairman of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital and professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, expresses a similar concern about how taking drugs changes how we understand certain virtues like freedom and diligence in fundamental ways:

"There are real worries about the increase of these drugs for work: They include the potential short- and long-term side effects of the stimulants; the potential mental trade-offs, such as the substitution of creativity for concentration; the erosion of character traits like persistence and dedication with pills as a quick solution; and coercion if brain enhancement was ever mandated."

The most approving member of the Times' debate likens the drug to socially acceptable stimulants like coffee and argues that drugs can level the playing field in a world where some have less of a natural ability to focus. 

--

Read more at The New York Times.

Photo credit: USA Today

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
popular
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less