Reporter Margaret Talbot (in a New Yorker article – due out Monday) explores the underground world of neuroenhancing drugs. Prescription medications such as Adderall and Provigil are taken by individuals for these drugs performance boosting properties instead of medically treatable conditions. Adderall was developed for the treatment of ADHD and Provigil was developed to counter the symptoms of narcolepsy. Non-ill users of these drugs can perform better in college and on the job. Anonymous internet surveys reveal that use of these medications as brain boosters for those without treatable medical conditions is accepted by a wide variety of respondents.
Employees and students who do not take these enhancing medications often feel at a competitive disadvantage. Physicians expect that in the near future the use of neurocosmetics will be commonplace. Big Pharma is working at a furious pace to develop medications that will delay the effects of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and the normal cognitive declines associated with old age.
What I’ve wondered is – if the me that becomes the better me, which is solely detertimed by a pharmaceutical, will I still be the same old me?