Join 3,368 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How I Hacked My Brain With Adderall
July 26, 2012 11:03 AM   Subscribe

How I Hacked My Brain With Adderall
posted by secretdark (108 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
who drew all over this magazine article?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


well, Hunter S Thompson he ain't ...
posted by k5.user at 11:12 AM on July 26, 2012


I guess I need adderall? Could not make it through that.
posted by arsey at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


I read the whole thing with a vague sense of hope that there might be some free adderall at the end.

there was not.
posted by elizardbits at 11:13 AM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am not a doctor, but in my heart I know this shit should NOT be given to children, even in a world where it’s increasingly harder to focus on something that isn’t your Facebook timeline.

Yep. You're not a doctor. You're a guy who decided to lie to get prescribed Adderall. A close family member was diagnosed with ADD and on a cocktail of medicines and serious therapy for years. While it is, absolutely, something that is over-prescribed, I can say that without it, my family would have been ripped apart. If this had been an AskMefi, I'm pretty sure the chorus of answers would have been: Oh my god, eat food, and see a doctor for a second opinion, because you are leaking from several orifices and have a minor addiction to amphetamine.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:14 AM on July 26, 2012 [50 favorites]


wow that was incredibly long. i have to say i didn't really read so much as skim.

i wish there was something that worked as well as Adderall for me but wasn't Adderall. the dose ramp up happens so quickly for me that i can't take it all the time or i'd be just pounding pills all the time...and not to be like this guy with his staying up all night... i mean to be able to get through a work day and be productive without feeling like crap at the end of it.

caffeine makes me sleepy so that's never been an alternative.

adderall doesn't take away my hunger, it just makes me honestly want GOOD food. i suddenly cannot take down taco bell and dr pepper. salads and good stuff please, in reasonable portions.

sigh. but articles like this will just keep uninformed people uninformed...unless what they want to be informed about is speed and not a treatment for ADD of any type.
posted by sio42 at 11:17 AM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wait. Isn't 60mg an extraordinarily large dose?
posted by schmod at 11:21 AM on July 26, 2012


I'm not sure, but for reference I take either 5 or 10mgs of Adderall XR; I have ADHD.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:27 AM on July 26, 2012


I much preferred the piece on mowing the lawn while on PCP...
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:29 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


As someone who responsibly takes amphetamines, which has drastically changed my life for the positive, this article just makes me mad. There's already enough misinformation about ADD out there, and enough self-congratulatory abusers writing about it out there to make intelligent discourse about it difficult at best. It's become as polarizing as politics, if not more so. What you don't hear is about the people who use it responsibly, who have managed to turn their lives around, and possibly SAVE their lives. Instead, we hear about about the abusers. And 60MG a day, IMO, is definitely abuse.

I hid my amphetamine use for a couple of years from everyone close to me simply because it was perceived by so many as a crutch for lazy people, or a shortcut to academic success, or whatever. The few times I've come out about it, it has generally not gone well. It's only when I'm able to make it clear how much it has curbed abusive behavior on my own part - substance or otherwise - that I can get some bit of acceptance.

I was torturing myself before I was diagnosed, and prescribed adderall... I felt as if I was a failure, as if there was something fundamentally broken with me. I drank heavily, I retreated from people, and I engaged in very foolish and impulsive activities. I hopped a damned freight train before I realized how destructive I was being.

Afterwards, it changed everything - I'm not a robot by any means. I actually eat meals. I sleep regularly. Of course, I also don't take 60MG. But beyond that, I don't beat myself up as much, I'm more confident, and I'm more active and healthy overall. And most importantly, I'm not actively destroying my life.

Living with this sort of mental state isn't easy, and every article like this just makes me want to keep what I live with to myself even more.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:29 AM on July 26, 2012 [41 favorites]


Wait. Isn't 60mg an extraordinarily large dose?

Not necessarily? Before I got my rx changed to an extended release formula, I took almost 3x as much spaced throughout the day.
posted by elizardbits at 11:32 AM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


After three months on Adderall, in one of the monthly phone check-ins with my clinic, I mentioned that the drug’s effects had diminished significantly, and got my monthly dose doubled (just in case this message was lost on you, I'll make it clear: amphetamines are extraordinarily addictive)

No, amphetamines are not addictive. You can build up a tolerance easily, though, and if you start off on a large dose like 30 mg so you can spend a whole day on one super-absorbing task (versus, say, using a moderate amount to just get through a day accomplishing typical things), I think your tolerance would build up much more quickly.

Moron.
posted by maudlin at 11:32 AM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I kept waiting for a YOLO reference...
posted by yellowcandy at 11:35 AM on July 26, 2012


60mg of a time-release Adderall XR does is not that large.

60mg of short-acting medications like dexedrine would be... well, further-than-medicinal-usage...
posted by jkaczor at 11:36 AM on July 26, 2012


To clarify - STARTING OUT with such a large dose is abuse. Every person is different, and reacts differently to medication, so I'm not trying to call anyone who got there responsibly an abuser.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:37 AM on July 26, 2012


it was perceived by so many as a crutch for lazy people, or a shortcut to academic success

I think the reason this perception exists is because so many people use it this way. Which makes it hard for the people who legitimately need it.

I wonder what the breakdown of prescription holders is between those who genuinely need it and those who use it as a tool.
posted by keep_evolving at 11:41 AM on July 26, 2012


I take 60 mg of short acting Adderall in divided dosages, 40 mg in the am and another 20 around 2 pm. It took about a year and a half of tinkering with the dosages and timing to find that sweet spot that works for me and it truly has changed my life and I really believe it saved my marriage and makes me a far more responsible and better parent.

Then again, I have a dx from a psychiatrist, see a therapist regularly, maintain a routine and schedule and all the other stuff that comes with taking your ADHD dx seriously.
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:43 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


All drug addicts are first and foremost insufferably boring, self-centered, and overly verbose.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


JUSTIN BIEBER AND MARU WERE NOT THINGS IN 2007
posted by drlith at 11:49 AM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Inspector.Gadget:All drug addicts are first and foremost insufferably boring, self-centered, and overly verbose.

Inspector.Gadget: I'm an addict; your statement is a wildly imbecilic overgeneralization, IMHO . . .
posted by eggman at 11:51 AM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


The article reminds me of someone who once said that when he took cocaine, playing the piano became ridiculously easy and he sounded great. I replied,

"To whom?"
posted by Doohickie at 11:53 AM on July 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


No, amphetamines are not addictive.

I wonder what you can possibly mean by this statement, which on its face is so blatantly untrue it is hilarious. Do you have some unique definition of "amphetamines", or perhaps do you have some unusual take on the idea of an "addictive" substance?
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:54 AM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Man, I hate addicts in denial, and I hate people when they're on stimulants. I also hate people whose minds have been so fucked by stimulants that they think that the world would be a better place is WE were all on stimulants too.

for the record, I hate people when I'm on stimulants, too, and that's why I stopped taking stimulants.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The classic addiction model of reinforcement, tolerance, and withdrawal fits CNS depressants much better than it fits CNS stimulants.
posted by Human Flesh at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2012


Dude you didn't hack anything. You got addicted to speed. Been there, done that, didn't write a self centered piece of shit article about it.
posted by Splunge at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2012 [25 favorites]


ah, i see what you're saying MysticMCJ. i think SOP is to start people on like 30 a day (10mg 3x) or actually less if they're a less severe case. so yeah, a pill happy doc starting someone on more is kinda nuts.

my psychiatrist told me that the levels in the big book of recommended doses are based on children, so that doctors cant accurately assess how much an adult needs. so an 80lb child would probably need no more than 60mg a day at worse, but an adult can need much more. since adult ADD has only recently become accepted by the DSM, i guess the pill people haven't done enough studies on adults. (he's actually one of the few drs in my area who will work with adult add. he's gong to retire soon and feels bad that some of his patients will have trouble finding a new psychiatrist as the other adult-add psychiatrists fill up.)

he said he's had, for some patients, to prescribe 120mg a day which he had reservations about, but with the patients' permission, would also talk to their spouse or other relatives or friends as a "keep in check" about their behavior. it worked like a miracle for them, with no massive weight loss or anything. so everyone's chemistry is different.

he said it was great drug for those who need it, but hated that it was so hard to find an effective dose quickly because of the variations in tolerance and dose needed, which you can't always tell by bodyweight or other factors.
posted by sio42 at 11:56 AM on July 26, 2012


Wonder if he worked his way up to taking speed, or if he's tried drinking, smoking and sniffing glue first ..
posted by k5.user at 11:58 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting piece.
I have to say as someone who dabbles with amphetamines from time to time (and its been a while) that they certainly are the following.
1. Addictive
2. Fucking awesome
3. Fucking miserable after using for a few days
4. Over prescribed

I enjoy them from time to time, but the tolerance aspect seems to sneak up on you quickly. I fucking hate the comedown though. Even when I get my hands on my absolute favorite Dexedrine, the next day is just not fun...unless I have more, which really isn't a good sign.

Besides I enjoy sleeping, eating, and not having odd discharges from my orifices.
posted by handbanana at 12:01 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


60mg of short-acting medications like dexedrine would be... well, further-than-medicinal-usage...
posted by jkaczor


Adderall is comprised of "mixed amphetamine salts" and 60% of that is dexedrine.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:02 PM on July 26, 2012


In 1979 a colleague bet Paul Erdős $500 that he couldn't stop taking amphetamine for a full month. He won the bet, but concluded by saying, "You've showed me I'm not an addict. But I didn't get any work done. I'd get up in the morning and stare at a blank piece of paper. I'd have no ideas, just like an ordinary person. You've set mathematics back a month." He then immediately started taking amphetamines again, presumably until his death at the age of 83.

Fond of psychostimulants, he once remarked, "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems." [some sources attribute the original quote to Erdös' friend and fellow Hungarian mathematican Alfréd Rényi.]
posted by Human Flesh at 12:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [22 favorites]


Forgot to add, my god do I suck at writing on speed. Really should only be used in my case to devour tombs of literature, and cleaning the house like a fucking boss.
posted by handbanana at 12:04 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adderall (30XR, same dosage for 4 years) has greatly stabilized my career and made it possible to multitask at a basic level, which is something most people take for granted. When the simplest shift in focus such as picking up the phone (regardless of who's on the other end) can ruin your entire day, and then you run into some jackass like this guy -- treating it like it's a real-life Game Genie, acting shocked that abuse has consequences -- well, it sorta chaps my ass a little.
posted by jake at 12:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


An excellent demonstration of how adderall causes your page count to rise much faster than is good for the quality of your work.
posted by NathanBoy at 12:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've mentioned my entrance into the world of Adderall before.

I'm still taking it (my dose, same as it's been since I started, is 10mg a day). I feel like it's been a great addition to my life; I'm more organized and I can keep my focus on where I need it to be and not get distracted by everything and anything and all that and whatnot, but I still worry that I'm just a lazy person and if I pulled myself up by my bootstraps I wouldn't *need* it.

Because of articles like this.
posted by Lucinda at 12:08 PM on July 26, 2012 [49 favorites]


Lucinda, I cannot favorite that hard enough.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:10 PM on July 26, 2012


Over prescribed

Honestly, how much of this is because people like this author lie to get the meds?
posted by liketitanic at 12:14 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm reminded of my favorite passage from Literary Outlaw re: Billy Burroughs, Jr, the author of Speed: "The next day, Billy hit the streets because he felt scummy—his head hurt, his feet stank, and he didn't love Jesus."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So many people lie to get speed it isnt even funny.
Shit its harder to get adequate pain medications.
Really its the $100, 15 minute "psychiatrists" which are really just acting as a legit drug dealer which is the problem.
posted by handbanana at 12:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first psychiatrist I ever went to was one of those 15 minute dealers... He basically asked me right out what drug I thought I should be on.

I quickly went to someone else, because I wanted someone who was willing to actually talk through things, carefully consider and diagnose, and not prescribe medication on a whim. It was a few sessions before a prescription was written.

The shadier ones certainly are out there... I was really surprised to see it handled in such a casual and flippant manner.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:25 PM on July 26, 2012


When will we finally get over our sanctimonious hypocrisy regarding psychotropics and let pharmaceutical companies blatantly research and market drugs for people who haven't been diagnosed with a disorder? It could be like a sequel to caffeine (which somehow got grandfathered into mainstream culture).
posted by Human Flesh at 12:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


My doctor required a written referral from my therapist before she would prescribe Adderall. That actually made me feel more comfortable about it being prescribed and taking it. Like others here 30mg/daily has been a lifesaver. I'm 40-something and just started on it. looking back on my college and high school days, it's pretty clear to me that I went undiagnosed and suffered quite a bit as a result.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:34 PM on July 26, 2012


As someone with adult ADD and a long-standing Adderall prescription, along with some other stuff: Christ, what an asshole. People like this are why I can't get refills.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


Yeah...and what anigbrowl said.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:36 PM on July 26, 2012


The amphetamine-sharpened edges of my mind began to dull. I went to Trader Joe's and bought a shitload of pita chips.

That got me to chuckle.
posted by pwally at 12:36 PM on July 26, 2012


Human Flesh: When will we finally get over our sanctimonious hypocrisy regarding psychotropics and let pharmaceutical companies blatantly research and market drugs for people who haven't been diagnosed with a disorder? It could be like a sequel to caffeine (which somehow got grandfathered into mainstream culture).
Seriously: Everyone gets their controlled-substance medicine purchases tracked by SSN. There is a strict (non-zero) limit on how much you can obtain, and resale is a serious crime. Any drug can be obtained in at least minimal, sub-addictive amounts, with a minimal of hassle.

We suddenly have the ability to easily identify abusers, because only the most careful of addicts would avoid legally purchasing their monthly allotment of heroin/amphetamines/whatever.

And the black market suddenly has to compete with the white market. The bottom drops out on drug lords.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think this guy sounds like a jackass, but I do wonder what it would be like if people didn't have to lie to get prescriptions for these things.

Let's face it: brain and body hacks exist. There are hacks for remembering things better, hacks for focusing, hacks for getting stronger, hacks for getting thinner.

Yes, all of those things can be used for people who have problems remembering things, problems focusing, problems with strength, or problems with severe overweightness.

But why is there such a stigma against enhancing? Maybe if people were allowed to market "help you learn" pills legally, people wouldn't need to take dangerous levels of a drug that is designed for something else in order to get that effect. Maybe if they were allowed to market genuine diet pills, people wouldn't lie about things in order to get them. Why don't we allow people to use steroids just for the purpose of making themselves stronger?

It's like we have some sort of prejudice against enhanced humans, and I'm not sure where it comes from. We say it's about the danger, but I'm not really sure about that, given that we allow much more dangerous substances freely.
posted by corb at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hate reading stuff like this. Echoing a lot of the sentiments above, it makes people who have legitimate treatable disorders seem like junkies. There is still quite a stigma attached to psychotropic drugs and it's pointless. If you have a chemical imbalance why should you be made to feel ashamed about treating it? As with so many drugs, the people abusing them are destroying it for the people who'd benefit from them.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2012


It's like we have some sort of prejudice against enhanced humans, and I'm not sure where it comes from. We say it's about the danger, but I'm not really sure about that, given that we allow much more dangerous substances freely.

Yes, a thousand times. I wish I had an answer. Is it simple Puritanism or something else?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:10 PM on July 26, 2012


I think virtually all drugs should be legalized, so that's where I'm coming from. I think it should be easier for you to get the drugs you need to function normally. But I also think people twist themselves into knots to try to put drugs like amphetamine and dextroamphetamine in completely different categories than those bad drugs like... uh... other forms of amphetamine. They are different in degree, not kind.

That doesn't make them bad or unnecessary. But when we're giving these things to children, we need to be really goddamn careful.

The other misconception people seem to have is that amphetamines only increase focus and ability to concentrate in people with ADHD, and in people without such a disorder could only be used to get high. That's not true. Almost anybody who takes Adderall at the correct dosage will find themselves with much greater ability to concentrate and focus. That's why abuse is so rampant on college campuses. The difference is that people with ADHD start with a lower ability to concentrate in the first place and so the theory is they need the boost just get back to normal, the same way xanax calms you the fuck down whether or not you have anxiety issues, but only people with anxiety issues need that calming effect to function normally.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Recently I've become interested in investigating (medically) whether I should be on Adderall or something similar. I've noticed that I'm much more product/focused while on caffeine, but I don't really like drinking caffeinated stuff everyday, and wonder if a low dose of something more directed would make more sense.

But thinking about this has gotten me to notice some things. Specifically, things related to geeky/creative people. I was shopping on ThinkGeek the other day and sort of surprised at the sheer number of caffeinated things you can buy there. Soaps, mints, sodas, pills, you name it. They're clearly doing a brisk business in peddling stimulants to their demographic (Reader, I must confess I bought some caffeinated breath mints on a lark).

A thought struck me: are there a lot of folks out there who are basically self-medicating with caffeine? I sure seems like I am. And it has nothing to do with sleepiness, either. It's about the focus. Since I started regularly taking caffeine at work my output and ability to create good work has increased significantly.

Does that make me a junkie? I certainly hope not.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2012


A thought struck me: are there a lot of folks out there who are basically self-medicating with caffeine?

I know more than one person who uses No-Doz on a daily basis. Before ephedrine was outlawed, I knew several people who used it to get them through the workday.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:25 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Umm... he doesn't say he lied to get his prescription.
I called one of these clinics, located in a zip code painfully familiar to all fans of early-90s teen sitcoms, and scheduled a consultation about my presumptive case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. After answering a few multiple-choice questions about my attention span (the "right" answers were knee-slappingly clear), the briefest physical I've ever encountered, and handing over two hundred dollars in cash, I walked out the door with 900 milligrams of generic adderall.
Noting that the "right" answers for the purposes of getting an ADHD diagnosis were clear doesn't, of itself, imply that those weren't also the right answers for describing his experience. And everything else he described sounded to me (another ADHD-er) like the genuine article.
posted by Zed at 1:30 PM on July 26, 2012


It's like we have some sort of prejudice against enhanced humans, and I'm not sure where it comes from. We say it's about the danger, but I'm not really sure about that, given that we allow much more dangerous substances freely.

Yes, a thousand times. I wish I had an answer. Is it simple Puritanism or something else?


The label "drugs" is part of the problem. Yet enhancement is natural, and the boundaries of our self and our tools is blurred. Or so some think.
posted by O Blitiri at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2012


This is going way better than I feared when I clicked through.

I've known a lot of people who took maintenance drugs, and I'm impressed by the number of people here who are maintaining on adderall without sounding like advocates. That impresses me because most of the people I've personally known who actually took it were not that moderate in their opinions.

Re. question up-thread, how much of over-prescription is because of people lying to get drugs: well, probably a lot, but there are still a shitload of docs out there willing to prescribe drugs at the drop of a hat. And of course I'm willing to accept that sometimes the drugs are a good thing -- but I've witnessed Adderall specifically as a gateway drug of abuse. The real problem there wasn't the adderall -- it was the need to hack his brain, which is directly related to the idea that "hacking" at things is a universally appropriate was to deal with problems in general -- and especially, hacking at sensitive and delicate things like your brain.
posted by lodurr at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it simple Puritanism or something else?

Speaking for my own part, I'm just deeply skeptical of this concept of "enhancement."

Everything you do to enhance your brain or body comes at a cost and with risks. What I've observed again and again is that people who are emotionally invested in the idea of "enhancement" will tend to minimize the risk and rationalize the cost. I did this when I was younger, and I've seen people close to me do it.

It's not puritanism. It's "do you really understand what you're doing?"

If you say "yes, I do," then I guess it's your business. But that doesn't mean you have an obligation to preach it from the rooftops, just as I have no obligation to believe you over my own observations and experience.
posted by lodurr at 1:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


lodurr: "but there are still a shitload of docs out there willing to prescribe drugs at the drop of a hat."

I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it's really better to have a doctor who will check in on you and make sure that you're on the right thing at the right dose and all that. On the other hand, it feels like my insurance company is where Lucy van Pelt grew up and went to work. After having the possibility of seeing an actual psychiatrist got yanked out from under me the nth time, it did kind of save me to be able to see the walk-in doc-in-a-box who just asked "well, what were you on the last time that seemed to work?" and wrote me a scrip.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:46 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not puritanism. It's "do you really understand what you're doing?"

But people modify their bodies in a number of ways that we don't (as a society) worry about. Plastic surgery has some pretty serious consequences sometimes, but you're still free to get as much of it as you can afford. It's a different story when it comes to drugs, partially because of the hysteria surrounding the very idea of "drugs", regardless of how many people clearly have benefited from pharmaceuticals.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've got a fucked up system. I don't know where I stand on that, because I hear you and I've known people in the same boat. A friend in italy for several months had her welbutrin stolen; she was in rough shape, and was fortunate enough to be able to just get a new scrip on trust, as you've described.

so i guess the attitude bothers me more than anything. I know there are a lot of people who are capable of using psychoactives responsibly. I also know there are a lot who aren't, and I have really conflicted feelings about this concept of self-experimentation as a victimless accident. (It's not. My household attests to that. My personal history attests to that.)
posted by lodurr at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2012


kitty stardust: I'd ask the same question about plastic surgery.
posted by lodurr at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2012


"I didn't get any work done. I'd get up in the morning and stare at a blank piece of paper. I'd have no ideas, just like an ordinary person."

Yet, according to the source I found, Erdös didn't start using amphetamines until 1971, by which time he'd already published something like 500 papers, and after which time there doesn't appear to be any obvious sudden increase in productivity. In a larger context, this unproductive drug-free month doesn't look like evidence that amphetamines were enhancing his brain, just evidence that withdrawal symptoms were diminishing it.

I seem to recall something similar happening in more scientific studies: caffeine clearly improved intelligence compared to a control group... until you looked at the study designs and realized that the "control" group was really the "regular caffeine users who were told to go cold-turkey" group.
posted by roystgnr at 1:57 PM on July 26, 2012


Is it possible that amphetamines make life more manageable for the many of us who find life challenging in this extremely rapid-paced, high pressure, unprecedentedly stimulating culture, and also are worth thinking critically about?
posted by latkes at 1:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I used to be a much, much heavier caffeine user than I am now. 6-7 strong cups a day, sometimes more.

In those days, I would go cold turkey for a couple of weeks a year just to prove to myself I could do it (and see what it was like). I'd get not a heck of a lot done in those weeks - mostly, I'd sleep, sometimes read but mostly just sleep. No withdrawal to speak of, other than being really sleepy. (years later I learned that you get worse withdrawal if you're a moderate user than a heavy user. Go figure. So I guess if I knew I had to lay off, I'd go heavy for a week or so first....)

Anyway, i told a girlfriend about that once -- she got pretty weirded out by it. She wasn't weirded out by me having to drink large quantities of coffee to stay awake, just by the idea that I would regularly go cold turkey. When I unpacked it with her, it was that it made it seem to her like I was an addict. Somehow the daily evidence of dependence didn't.

I've had similar experiences with others (actually, all girlfriends, now that I think of it) since then when I tell them I used to do that. They're fine with me being dependent on it, but not with the idea that I might want to manage my dependency in some way.
posted by lodurr at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I'd rather go the omega-3 route than Adderall. Perhaps that's just me.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 2:08 PM on July 26, 2012


Today we've secretly replaced Mary's Adderall with Omega-3s. Let's see if she notices!

(SPOILER ALERT: She notices).
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on July 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


A thought struck me: are there a lot of folks out there who are basically self-medicating with caffeine?

I'm quite sure that I don't have ADD but stimulants like caffeine and adderrall certainly help me focus and stay on track as well, at least when taken in sub-recreational doses.

My pet theory is that many of us, not just those with ADD, could now use some chemical assistance in maintaining concentration. And I blame this on computers and the internet. An office-worker from 30 years ago would have, on their desk, a bunch of stacks of various forms, a phone, maybe a typewriter. To goof off they'd have to get up and retrieve a book, or call someone, or go talk to someone - in other words it required a conscious decision to go goof off. Now everyone's primary work instrument is also a combination book store, newsstand, toy shop, video rental shop, radio, universal communicator, and porn shop - and all of it is free. Of course we're all suddenly attention-challenged.

Yes yes, case in point, this post. Irony bla bla bla.
posted by tempythethird at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


My observation is that to get "results" from brain-hacking like Berlioz, Coleridge, Balzac or Burroughs, it helps a whole lot to actually be Berlioz, Coleridge, Balzac or Burroughs. Because your perceptions of what's great (at first, at least) are so highly biased by the state you're in. OTOH after a time you've built up such a tolerance that you're not getting much "jack", while you continue to pay the price.

In the end, there's no royal road to geometry or anything else.
posted by Twang at 3:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I have ADHD, because I couldn't make it throught the article.

Also, this "I tried this prescription" thing seems like a trope. I'm bored by this and I think he needs to find something new to write about. Something original.
posted by discopolo at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2012


Hacking your brain by mainlining crack is more of a challenge, but ultimately much more rewarding. Plus you end up giving back to the community - at least at the street level - a lot, like every couple of hours until the dragons in the sky start flying too close. That's when you know it's time to get your script for Bud Ice filled.
posted by item at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


My pet theory is that many of us, not just those with ADD, could now use some chemical assistance in maintaining concentration. And I blame this on computers and the internet...

Concentration is a skill, and like any skill it can be improved with repetition. With modern life's many distractions it's easy to get out of practice and end up with a shortened attention span. But it's possible to back in shape by turning off the phone and going offline for awhile. Maybe people should go offline for a week or two every year, like lodurr went off of coffee, just to see what kind of difference it makes.

People with ADD need help getting to the same hormonal baseline as everyone else, and drugs like adderall are apparently a good way to do that. If somebody without ADD regularly takes adderall... I don't know, it sounds like they might be setting themselves up for difficulties when they stop taking the drug. Their baseline level of concentration is going to seem unnaturally high, and they'll be used to focusing on things without expending significant effort. Do that long enough and normal brain activity is going to feel cripplingly slow and scattered.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish I had an answer. Is it simple Puritanism or something else?

Some people seem to be what Gerald L. Klerman calls 'pharmacological Calvinists' (i.e. they think feeling bad is good and feeling good is bad), but I suspect that there are other motives as well. Just about anyone can get drugs regardless of their legal status. If drugs help me win a zero-sum competition, then the best (in a selfish sense) thing for me to do is use performance enhancing tools while claiming to be unaugmented, and then convince my competitors not to use them. This explains a lot of our hypocritical statements.

People like Leon Kass fear that performance enhancing tools change the purpose of some competitions. He wrote, "In trying to achieve better bodies through biotechnology, we do not in fact honor our given bodies or cultivate our given individual gifts. Instead we are, whether we realize it or not, voting with our syringes to have a different body, with different native capacities and powers. We are giving ourselves new and foreign gifts, not nature's and not our own."

I think some people might have an unconscious revulsion to contrived signals that mask genetic weaknesses or broadcast false advertisements for our haploid cells. Someone who wants to mate with an athlete might feel that performance enhancing drugs reduce the usefulness of holding athletic competitions to assess the athletic potential of winning athletes' gametes.
posted by Human Flesh at 4:08 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


MysticMCJ: question for you and a short story. I experienced hash and marijuana and had a very positive effect, yet unlike cig smoking it didn't develop into anhabit, so much so that I haven't got any mary in a year or so, and don't really miss it either.

uriously enough, I found out that regular exercising, expecially swimming, has a very positive effect on me , quite unlike mj, but good enough to actually feel a positive difference after exercising...so much so that I go for an extra swim when I get an occasional "bad" mood (not in the extreme spectrume, just fatigue x10)

The question for you is: did you have any similar experience - meaning - feeling significantly better after exercising (not strenuously), just "enough" not to make you "feel the need" for a chemical fix?
posted by elpapacito at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2012


Ops, of course the question applies to anybody having had experience with chemicals and similar exercising experiences.
posted by elpapacito at 4:19 PM on July 26, 2012


John Lilly, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson... these were people who "hacked" the human brain. They called it meta-programming. They were very serious about raising human consciousness to the next evolutionary level.

The author of this article is the same as any addict on the con.

Don't get me wrong. I love drugs. Sometimes way too much. And a lot of the points made in this thread about Calvinists and legalization are spot on, in my opinion. But people make mistakes and drug mistakes can kill. YMMV.
posted by Splunge at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2012


It only takes one misdiagnosis for a drug to be overprescribed, so it's easy to claim that a drug is overprescribed. You don't, however, hear much about doctors overprescribing antimalarial drugs. When was the last time you heard any consternation over the fact that tonic water contains the antimalarial drug quinine? It's the psychotropics that ruffle the killjoys' feathers.
posted by Human Flesh at 4:25 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the New Yorker (2009): Brain Gain: The underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs
posted by vidur at 4:28 PM on July 26, 2012


mainlining crack

o_O
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on July 26, 2012


Speaking for my own part, I'm just deeply skeptical of this concept of "enhancement." Everything you do to enhance your brain or body comes at a cost and with risks.

That sounds like the just world hypothesis, or maybe caveman science fiction.

It's not just high-risk drugs that are forbidden. Normal people looking to buy psychotropics generally have to get them from food or beverage sources (e.g. caffeine and ethanol) if they don't feel like taking their chances on the black market or charlatan-infested grey market.

Risk doesn't seem to be the real reason for the tut-tutting. It's not like ADD is a life-threatening disease. If 30 mg of amphetamine is safe enough for someone with ADD then it should be safe enough for someone without ADD.
posted by Human Flesh at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


mainlining crack

o_O


I got into a HUGE screaming argument about this with someone on another forum - they insisted that only the very worst sort of addicts do this terrible but 100% true and factual thing and that's probably why I hadn't heard of it. It was hilarious but super enraging.

special bonus: the subject matter was fanfiction
posted by elizardbits at 5:19 PM on July 26, 2012


In retrospect I should've just told her the 100% true and factual information that she was a ghastly and pedestrian writer.
posted by elizardbits at 5:20 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ha. I know you know that it IS a real, doable thing involving lemon juice and a tolerance for abscesses, so all is fine.
posted by item at 5:35 PM on July 26, 2012


I really get annoyed when people call Adderall "crack" or claim it's the same as meth. It makes one look ignorant. It would be like saying taking a bong rip is the same as dropping acid since they're both psychedelics.
posted by MattMangels at 5:48 PM on July 26, 2012


I've had a prescription to some kind of stimulant or other for most of my life, but I rarely take them. I've never actually been productive while on Adderall, which says a lot more about me than the drug. I usually just end up killing time on the internet, but a lot more intensely (and I have a blast doing so). Drinking a cup of coffee or tea on the comedown is pretty cool though; in my experience, it brings back the "peak" feeling for a couple of hours.

Also count me in as someone who writes horribly while on amphetamines. I'll spend two paragraphs on what can be said in a sentence. It also causes me to have a lot of trouble communicating in speech: forgetting words, spending too much time trying to find the right word, etc. It has to be pretty awful to witness.
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 5:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a pediatrician in training. I have always thought I have a moderate amount of ADD.

I went to a psychiatrist during my intern year to get a professional opinion; he simply went down the DSMIV checklist and asked me to give binary answers to the questions. Specifically, he said he wanted to know what my answers were without taking into account all the routine, compensatory habits I have developed to counteract whatever attention deficit I think I have. So I was making some educated guesses about what my daily life would be like without my meticulous listing of all important upcoming events, and what interpersonal relationships would be like for me if I hadn't had to completely clamp down on the degree of freedom with which I interacted with people somewhere around college. All throughout grade school to high school, I was getting into trouble for behaviors that are consistent with ADD. I was constantly getting into fights, and while these mainly resulted from being an immature and reactive kid, I think having ADD was contributory to not having developed better coping skills. My point is, I think ADD negatively impacted and delayed my development into the more ore less well-adjusted person that I am now. I did not require meds to become this person, but my life may have been better if I was identified and diagnosed with ADD.

I have rotated through a child development clinic, and it's become quite clear that there are kids out there who have severe deficits in attention, and for them, the difference in terms of being able to function on and off meds is night and day. I do not question its use in these kids, and I don't think there is an associated specific 'zombie-fying' or imagination-destroying effect, although I think we have poor evidence in general about whether the positive effects from allowing a child to function normally counteracts any potential negative affects from using these meds on a brain that is still actively developing. My guess is the social pros outweight the developmental cons in the final tally.

I was originally prescribed methylphenidate, then later on dextroamphetamine. I do not use it regularly, but it is a powerful antidote to certain symptoms that are exacerbated by specific situations. For example, as a resident working 13 hour shifts, 6 days a week in the hospital, you are constantly bombarded by information about, and requests for, 20 to 30-odd patients. For someone who needs time to manage and organize their life, this kind of information overload can cause you to misprioritize or even completely miss things that may be very important for managing a patient. In this situation, these medications provide a kind of noise filter, the ability to step back and better prioritize and organize the information you are getting. Prior to using these meds, as soon as the results of some new test arrived or management decisions for a patient changed, I would start scrawling the information on any random page of my patient sheets. Using the medication, I am able to be much more organized and deliberate.

Another way I have seen a positive impact is in my real-time ability to string together a cohesive argument or presentation of a patient's history without blanking on details or being distracted. It's not that my brain is unable to do the cerebral legwork; it's just less able to show all the work in logical progression than someone else who does not have ADD.

It really is not about laziness or intelligence, and it's too bad I was lead to believe this and delayed getting help. This is most apparent when asked to perform something which I consider to be drudgery, like being asked to write an essay on something that I consider trivial or inconsequential. On the flip side, I devoured Infinite Jest in 3 days, prior to ever having tried any ADD med. I destroyed tests like the SATs and MCAT. But once I hit medical school, the kind of sustained studying that was required was beyond me, as I would zone out despite frequent breaks and an environment that was as learning-friendly and distraction-free as possible. What this medication does for me is something akin to lowering the threshold at which something which is undesirable or requires sustained effort can be accomplished. It lowers the walls.

The troubling aspects are ofcourse that there is a 'high' associated with the use of these meds, and then a 'low'. These are particularly apparent if you do not use the medications regularly. I would rather these effects were not there, but I'd also rather not take the medications all the time. That's why physicians often recommend drug holidays for kids (weekends, summer vacation, etc).

All of this does also beg the question, how shitty of a job are we doing in terms of teaching, that more and more kids seem to need these meds? How hard are we making it to actively be engaged in learning, to make connections, to be rewarded for curiosity?
posted by legospaceman at 5:51 PM on July 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, the GRAR I felt while reading this.

I am not a doctor, but in my heart I know this shit should NOT be given to children, even in a world where it’s increasingly harder to focus on something that isn’t your Facebook timeline.

This would be like someone who abused opiates saying that they shouldn't be used medicinally. Incidentally, my litmus test for whether an essay about ADHD should be taken seriously is whether or not the author tries to hand-wave it all away as a result of "facebook." That's an instant sign that the person has No Idea What They're Talking About.
posted by lunasol at 5:54 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also: there have been so damn many verbose, dorm-room-philosophy-style personal narrative pieces about ADHD like this, where the author, who has no idea what they're talking about, waxes on for fucking ever about What It All Means. You know what I'd like to see? A personal narrative piece by someone who does have ADHD and their experience with medication. I think that would be a lot more interesting and valuable.
posted by lunasol at 5:56 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be like saying taking a bong rip is the same as dropping acid since they're both psychedelics.

We've hashed this out many times on the blue. You're exaggerating here. It's like saying that one thing is the same as something else which is similar but acts faster and is stronger at lower doses. Whether one considers that a wide enough gulf to discredit a comparison is left as an exercise for the reader. My own experience talking to people who have used both (and saying people at clubs or whatever on both) is exactly what I said above; they are similar but not exactly the same.
posted by Justinian at 6:07 PM on July 26, 2012


Ugh, talking to, not saying. Today is apparently aphasia day.
posted by Justinian at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2012


elpapacito: I see this as being one of two questions - Either you are wondering how exercise worked for curbing my substance abuse/destructive behavior, or if exercise helped in the same way that adderall does.

In regards to substance abuse, while exercise would help with my mood somewhat, it never really helped with any sort of destructive behavior. That always continued regardless of my mood... I could be in the best mood ever, and still do something incredibly rash and self-destructive.

In regards to ADD symptoms and the like, no, exercise did not help there either. Totally separate thing there - The adderall made such a substantial difference that I found myself exercising more - not out of this crazy burst of energy, but more from getting my shit together enough to make the time for it, and to stay focused through it. And mood lifted accordingly from there.
posted by MysticMCJ at 7:19 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really get annoyed when people call Adderall "crack" or claim it's the same as meth. It makes one look ignorant.

If you were indeed referring to my crack crack, I was kidding. I never compared it to meth of Adderall. In my world, the inability to detect a joke - even a bad one - tends to make one look ignorant.

Chemical dependency and substance abuse are kind of an ever-growing area of expertise in my life. There's a stack of books on those subjects not two feet from me right now, and of course there's the real-world experiences that I unfortunately bring up a bit too often on this site. Though I definitely recommended against doing so, even a cursory poke into my shit would reveal somewhere approaching a decade of embarrassing 'research'.

What I'm getting at is Yes Virginia, There is a Difference Between Crack and All Forms of Amphetamines. You would have to be absolutely ignorant to think otherwise.
posted by item at 7:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then let us consider LSD, DMT and salvia divinorum. The difference between these things would not even rate a Sesame Street song in the experience of some people. Two of them are a bit less plant/herbal shall we say? But they all have a similar effect you say. No they don't. DMT and salvia are much more of a "kind". LSD is a long lasting hallucinogenic. DMT and salvia share a more short lived, yet more intense experience.

In fact salvia is considered a more potent and scary drug than either of the others. Although, in my personal experience, DMT is a very close second.

Guess which one is still (so far) legal? That's right, salvia is still legal in many states. And salvia is probably the most powerful hallucinogenic that anyone will ever do.

Most people do salvia once. And that's it. The experience is so frightening that regular LSD users hate it. Yeah I know, CITE! Look it up.

See, the people that originally used salvia chewed the leaves. Or made tea. These days salvia is sold as a powerful leaf to smoke. Well there's yer problem. A bolus of salvia smoke will make you go quickly to a place where your body does not exist. Even before you can exhale.

LSD takes a while to come on. You can feel it happening. You can feel the pieces of your mind coming unglued and reshaping.

DMT is a faster thing. But when the alien world happens, you may (just may) keep a shred of your ego.

Salvia is like the honey badger. It don't give a fuck. One second you are smoking something and the next eigenblitz you are not you. You are a chair. A window. Or, in many cases, you are in Hell. You have always been there. The robot zombies are sucking your brain and you do not exist.

And these days they do this wonderful thing where they have powers of salvia. In other words they extract salvia liquid. The steep salvia leaves in it. And so you can get X16 salvia. Or X32 salvia. You can smoke the herb that the average person would make into tea and use for an entheogenic experience and blow your fucking mind to shit.

And let's talk about "Bath Salts". Does anyone here really know what they are? Lemme 'splain. They are chemicals that people make because they mimic (or at least are supposed to) certain highs. The point of "bath salts" and other chemicals is that they are not the same on the molecular level as illegal drugs. So they are legal to sell. Until someone dies from them. So then the manufacturer gets the chemist to change the molecule and it's not illegal once again.

This is what happened with "Ecstasy". MDMA is now illegal. So they make new drugs and throw them on the market with no testing (here's my surprised face).

The older folks here will remember Locker Room. Also known as Poppers. Originally it was alkyl nitrate. But there was a whole class of nitrates. Ultimately butyl and amyl nitrate were the ones used. The theory was that they were air fresheners. You would open the bottle in a locker room and it would smell better.

Yeah right.

Let's face it. Making every drug that makes people happy illegal just makes worse drugs.

I wish I was back in the day when you smoked crappy weed and ate a whole Boston Cream pie and a pint of Rum Raisin icecream.

Call me, 1976! I miss you.
posted by Splunge at 10:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish I was back in the day when you smoked crappy weed and ate a whole Boston Cream pie and a pint of Rum Raisin icecream.

I've had plenty of crappy weed, but given the choice, not sure I'd ever prefer it. It's harder on the lungs and doesn't taste so great. I was in high school in the '80s, and back then the Mexican sativas were pretty decent - this was before the time they started compressing and bricking it all up. Now it's worse, honestly, mostly because of bricking the plant before shipping, otherwise it might not be so bad. Homegrown almost always means better quality these days, which is fine with me.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:33 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're interested in "this sort of thing", let me strongly recommend provigil. It has some of the "up" effects, but less intensely, and it doesn't seem to be either habituating or to have any of the nasty physical side effects. It's particularly effective for jetlag.

In my experience, the real stim-heads don't like provigil because it isn't "strong enough". I've taken it off and on for years, one-half a pill at a time, and usually when I have a heavy workload. I do really enjoy the effects, and yet it's a rare week I do it four times, and it's been weeks since I had any (mainly because I associate it with work, and because I'm on a working holiday) and I didn't even realize that until I wrote this post.

Really, one of the great things about the late 20th/early 21st is that we have some very good recreational drugs. After millennia, we have very effective aphrodisiacs, for men anyway. Provigil is for me the perfect stimulant because it's mild, non-habituating and yet effective. LSD is close to a perfect psychedelic except that it does last too long - clean LSD has an astonishingly low toxicity. I remember the first time I got drunk again after I'd had my first serious acid trip - I said to myself, "Oh, I remember this - crude chemical poisons."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:20 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


John Lilly, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson... these were people who "hacked" the human brain. They called it meta-programming. They were very serious about raising human consciousness to the next evolutionary level.

The author of this article is the same as any addict on the con.


The difference between Leary, Wilson & this guy is not what they're doing, but what they're doing with it. (I don't include Lilly because I don't know anything about his methods.) This guy was trying to improve his performance; he was experimenting on himself. Probably also he was looking for new stimulation, sure.

But the key difference between him and Leary / RAW is basically that they produced something of value. I really don't think the motivation was all that different. They had the particular drives to do something with what they learned, and the mental acuity to accomplish it. (Mostly. Sort of.)

My feeling for many years has been that in Leary, we lost a great psychologist. He was on a path to have the same insights he had "through" LSD, but without it. They were valuable insights. But because they're associated with psychotropic drugs, they're discredited.
posted by lodurr at 5:06 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Ron Graham once] bet [Paul Erdős] $500 that [Erdős] could not stop taking amphetamines for a month. Erdős won the bet, but complained that during his abstinence mathematics had been set back by a month: "Before, when I looked at a piece of blank paper my mind was filled with ideas. Now all I see is a blank piece of paper." After he won the bet, he promptly resumed his amphetamine use.

... [Idiosyncratic] elements of Erdős's vocabulary include:
Children were referred to as "epsilons"; Women were "bosses"; Men were "slaves"; People who stopped doing math had "died"; People who physically died had "left"; Alcoholic drinks were "poison"; Music was "noise"; People who had married were "captured"; People who had divorced were "liberated";

posted by jeffburdges at 5:36 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was entertaining. I think the author is a megalomaniac though. Who goes on a power trip because they can keep up with all the cat memes on the internet?

But coming up daily on Adderall has less to do with a caffeinated sensation than it does with becoming a detail-oriented post-human, a machine following self-imposed routines with little regard for anything outside the routine’s scope. It turns out that my Adderall self has a knack for accounting, spreadsheets, and administrative tasks that my unstimulated self would normally shy away from: an inbox-zeroing robot bent on eking out every last ounce of productivity my heightened senses could spit out.

I think this is true - at high enough doses, anyway. For me - I have inattentive ADD - that hyperfocused side is always there, but it can't be summonned at will or directed towards the things that actually matter. It just suddenly comes out, and then four hours later you have compiled a list of every time a character says "Fuck" in Casino. Sometimes you learn useful stuff, sometimes you waste your time.

For me, the best thing about prescription stimulants (I take Ritalin "as necessary" to meet deadlines) is that they have predictable effects. You know you are going to be focused for the next X hours, you can reasonably expect to have some measure of control over where your focus goes during those hours (esp. if you open the spreadsheets before starting on the pills), and you know you will be in a comedown state for X hours afterwards. Like a lot of people have said, prescription stimulants help with routine, and we are living in a world that is increasingly routinized, with the routines more and more frequently being handed down from other people.

I am not a doctor, but in my heart I know this shit should NOT be given to children, even in a world where it’s increasingly harder to focus on something that isn’t your Facebook timeline. The entire neurological and sociological conditioning cycles of childhood are all about constant stimulus overload.

I kind of agree with this... in a perfect world where children didn't have to follow routines even more closely than adults. You learn a lot more left to your own devices, when you're pursuing things you're truly interested in and not just whatever task is set in front of you to accomplish. But that's not how school works.
posted by subdee at 8:14 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other thing that jumped out at me about this article was, of course the author is living somewhere around Los Angeles. Of course.
posted by subdee at 8:20 AM on July 27, 2012


Is it simple Puritanism or something else?

Could be. I would say it's prudence and caution.

I am a firm believer that if you're an adult, you should be allowed to do whatever you want as long as it doesn't harm others. However I have long grown jaded that we as a group are simply not adults. Children require supervision because they lack self discipline and understanding of long term effects of what they do. We show time and time again that we are no better than children.

Take soda as a simple example. There is no argument that soda is bad for you. None. And yet even knowing that we as a group do not have the self discipline to stop. On average Americans consume 1.3 cans of soda per day. That is almost 30 ounces and 70 g of sugar. Almost twice the recommended upper limit. One might then say that "Hey! We're adults. Who are you to tell me how many cans of soda I can have?" That is fine and good except that soda plays a role (how big a role is debatable) in the growing obesity epidemic in the USA - something that is taxing our medical dollars (Something to the tune of $150 billion a year according to a study).

And that is just sugar water. We cannot control ourselves and yes...the increased spending on this means that there is less money that can potentially benefit other members of our society. We expect to be able to do better with powerful mood altering drugs? The answer might be yes but it is just common sense if some people are hesitant.
posted by 7life at 8:53 AM on July 27, 2012


That is fine and good except that soda plays a role (how big a role is debatable) in the growing obesity epidemic in the USA - something that is taxing our medical dollars (Something to the tune of $150 billion a year according to a study).

This is used repeatedly as an excuse for why we need to regulate people's behavior - that we as a nation are paying for it. That's why we need to eliminate people's choices.

There's another answer, though it's not a popular one. We don't need to eliminate choices, we just need to make people responsible for the consequences of them.

Get the US government out of the business of paying for healthcare. Get hospitals out of the business of paying for people who can't pay. If people are responsible for their own choices - whether sugar water or highly addictive drugs, then what is the problem really?
posted by corb at 9:23 AM on July 27, 2012


subdee: That was entertaining. I think the author is a megalomaniac though. Who goes on a power trip because they can keep up with all the cat memes on the internet?
Someone who is getting paid to do so, like him, as he points out in the article.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:29 AM on July 27, 2012


If people are responsible for their own choices - whether sugar water or highly addictive drugs, then what is the problem really?

If a behavior occurs in a vacuum and it only affects the person doing it...sure. Why not? But the problem is that although a lot of things have negligible contribution when done individually, in aggregate they do affect society in a big way.


Let us take obesity and healthcare again as an example. You're willing to pay the consequences of obesity and it only affects you you say? For the sake of argument, let's imagine that 100% of people in our nation are obese. What would happen to the state of our military (or other jobs that require physical fitness)? How many productive hours are lost due to obesity induced illnesses? How many people are taken of other jobs because they have to care for the sick people? How much resources (in terms of hours and dollars) have to be diverted to this issue that can arguably be used elsewhere?

You can be as obese as you want. That is your right. If 100% of people in a nation however are obese, I'm sure we can agree that it is a societal problem. I don't think it is a leap of logic then to say that there is a threshold where a personal decisions in aggregate will start affecting society in a big way.

And no - I was not suggesting in my previous argument that we should start regulating people's behavior. But rather we should be prudent that although a certain behavior might seem to affect only the doer, there is a hidden cost we as a society have to pay. And we should be doubly cautious when it involves powerful drugs.
posted by 7life at 11:51 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's another answer, though it's not a popular one. We don't need to eliminate choices, we just need to make people responsible for the consequences of them.

Get the US government out of the business of paying for healthcare. Get hospitals out of the business of paying for people who can't pay. If people are responsible for their own choices - whether sugar water or highly addictive drugs, then what is the problem really?


Because of course having the government pay for health care is what's destroyed european society, amiright?
posted by lodurr at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would say it's prudence and caution.

That doesn't explain why a diagnosis of some disorder is a prerequisite for a prescription. ADD isn't a life-threatening illness. Why should people with an ADD diagnosis tolerate more risk than other people? Cars are much more dangerous than methylphenidate and atomoxetine, but you don't need to be paraplegic to legally use an automobile.

My suspicion is that people are anxious about technology that interferes with our mate selection metrics. Many of our motives are unconscious, so people may not be able to articulate exactly why tools that divorce achievement from genetic advantages cause alarm.
posted by Human Flesh at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2012


@IAmBroom That's fair. The line between getting a rush because you're awesome at your job and getting a rush because you are Master of the Internet, King of Productively Wasting Time, is fine, maybe. Though he does compare himself to Lil Wayne.
posted by subdee at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2012


human flesh, i feel like you're mashing some things together, because while the iatrogenic model may have some contribution to this quasi-puritannical attitude toward drug use (and I'll happily go for 'quasi' if I don't have to carry it too far), I don't think it's the major factor. The cult of self-reliance has a lot more to do with it, at least here in America.
posted by lodurr at 4:00 AM on July 28, 2012


I don't understand. What am I mashing together?
posted by Human Flesh at 7:21 AM on July 28, 2012


different contributing factors to puritannical attitudes.
posted by lodurr at 9:44 AM on July 28, 2012


Hmm... well, I mentioned multiple factors that might lead people to support prohibitions against marketing self-enhancement tools to healthy populations.
posted by Human Flesh at 9:52 AM on July 28, 2012


Adderall certainly didn't help him write a more coherent article.
posted by inertia at 2:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Technology meets art in the collision sculptures o...  |  "MathB.in is a website meant f... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments