Just don't take the sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

This article and its comments make me uneasy.
Welcome to these new allies in the struggle for cognitive liberty.
Yes, cognitive liberty. The idea that an individual of a certain age, with advice and direction from a professional, should be free to experience altered mental states. A medication that provides neurological enhancement is one that increases mental awareness and focus, reduces the need for sleep, or generates a feeling of euphoria. It means to give its user a competitive advantage. But, what's the cost?

While the act of taking Adderall before writing a paper is not akin to selling your soul, there are complications from long-term use. This is because the mind and the body cannot sustain the enhancing effects without being given more of the substance over time. Think caffeine and nicotine. Soda ingestion and cigarette use must increase in order to sustain a level of cognitive functioning that is significantly higher than baseline.

This would be fine if the method of delivery were free of side effects. Currently, medication use is nurtured and sustained by pharmaceutical companies that ensure that evidence that would potential hinder profit is hidden from the public and relevant professionals. There is no regard for the public good. If it is not immediately killing everyone who takes it, the medication is the answer.

What of those nasty side effects like diabetes, sexual dysfunction, tardive dyskinesia, "rage episodes," or a desire to commit suicide? Typically, the answer is that multiple factors contribute to the development of side effects so the medication alone is not at fault. That answer is correct (and it would be great if the holistic approach to treatment was standard in mainstream psychiatry).

Psychiatrists often measure susceptibility to various ailments and prescribe according. Unfortunately, the medication will effect the body in unknown ways so not all risk can be assessed. All of this will apply to neurological enhancers. There will be devastating side effects produced by these drugs that you will be unable to predict. We cannot be superheros. Pills and other ways of delivering mental and physical enhancements cannot turn us into superheros.

Yes, neurological enhancement can give us a competitive edge in the short-term. But what happens when gets into the game? How the hell do we sustain an economy and a country when everyone lives to 200 and needs daily treatment in order to sustain their slowed aging and minimize the side effects? Okay, that question may be a bit hyperbolic. However, the need to be faster, stronger, and alive longer will push the market to produce a solution and a scenario similar to the one above may emerge.


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