AirTalk for December 5, 2013

Use of Adderall and other stimulants in the workplace on the rise

Mario Tama/Getty Images

The number of ADHD prescriptions written for people in the U.S. between the ages of 20 and 39 has more than doubled since 2007.

According to IMS Health, the use of ADHD meds is up -- way up.

In 2007, 5 and a half million monthly prescriptions for ADHD medications were written for people between 20 and 39. By 2011, that number went up to 14 million, and that's not counting unsanctioned use.

It’s hard to know how many people are taking them without prescriptions, but it’s safe to say those numbers are going up too. Some of the increase can be attributed to people of all ages feeling more and more overloaded with information and expectations in school and at in the workplace. So, the thinking goes, if there’s a little pill that can increase productivity and creativity, why not take it?

But do these meds really make us smarter? If so, at what cost? What are the risks and long term health and cultural implications of this kind of “cosmetic neurology?”

Guest:

Dr. Karen Miotto M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Addiction Medicine Service in the UCLA Semel Institute


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