Brain Drugs and Corporate Climbers


Both the New York Observer and New York Times investigate the rise of the use of “cognitive enhancement” and energy-increasing psychiatric drugs among stressed workers and ambitious executives.

“For the modern mad men and wolves of Wall Street, gone are the days of widespread day drinking and functional cocaine use,” reports the Observer. “Instead, in this age of efficiency above all else, corporate climbers sometimes seek a simple brain boost, something to help them to get the job done without manic jitters or a nasty crash. For that, they are turning to nootropics… chemical supplements that claim to improve cognitive function, increase alertness and strengthen memory and recall.”

“(I)n interviews, dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance,” reports the Times. “Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or access to the medication.”

Nootropic Brain Drugs Rise in Popularity for Today’s Cutthroat Corporate Climbers (New York Observer, April 14, 2015)

Workers Seeking Productivity in a Pill Are Abusing A.D.H.D. Drugs (New York Times, April 19, 2015)

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    • In this case I don’t think so.

      After having been in corporate culture for even a brief time, you quickly realize it is a heart of darkness, and it’s easy to understand why people turn to these drugs in order to get an advantage or merely to cope.

      The marketing of drug companies is tangential. The idea to use mental enhancement drugs is mainly spread by word of mouth including weirdo self-help gurus on the internet like the “bullet-proof executive”.

      After that it is just people experimenting with these drugs that either convinces them to use them or not; no marketing involved.

      • I beg to differ because pharmaceutical corporations did heavily advertise these toxins as sharpening the mind, focus, and thinking. So naturally some people will assume they will give them a mental “boost” or “advantage.”

        You also seem to have implied that these drugs actually can give people an advantage or help them to cope. I don’t find that to be credible either, especially regarding long-term usage.

        Furthermore, “spellbinding” as explained by Dr. Peter Breggin, may keep many people taking these drugs. The users think they’re performing at an enhanced, higher level, but they’re merely “spellbound” when believing this.

        • It’s not my intent to promote any drug, legal or illegal.

          I see them all as a deal with the devil. You going in thinking, hoping, you’re going to get the better part of that deal but that generally is not the case except for some life-saving meds.

          My reply was only to address the fact that advertising/placebo effect is not what is causing this. Advertising doesn’t help but there’s something else insidious going on here and it’s going to drive a legal, illegal or supplement market regardless.