Monday, April 20, 2009

Cosmetic neurology

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.


  1. Rahul Basu said...

    see also here and here.

  2. madraskaari said...

    To me the funniest part of the whole story was this quote:

    If you’re a fifty-five-year-old in Boston, you have to compete with a twenty-six-year-old from Mumbai now, and those kinds of pressures are only going to grow,” he began


    also by Zack.