New psychiatric drugs have a way of creating markets for themselves. Disorders often become widely diagnosed after drugs come along that can alter a set of suboptimal behaviors. In this way, Ritalin and Adderall helped make A.D.H.D. a household name, and advertisements for antidepressants have helped define shyness as a malady. If there’s a pill that can clear up the wavering focus of sleep-deprived youth, or mitigate the tip-of-the-tongue experience of middle age, then those rather ordinary states may come to be seen as syndromes. As Casey put it, “The drugs get better, and the markets become bigger.”
“Yes,” Zack said. “We call it the lifestyle-improvement market.”
From Margaret Talbot's story in New Yorker.