Open Thread: Is Everyone On Stimulants?

I’ve been counting myself as less than fortunate recently since I’ve had serious trouble sleeping while, in my mind, I assumed that others never experience the same, that sleep has a secret pact with them. I’ve been feeling like the only person in the world that sleep has fled from, packing her soft kisses and weird dreams away and literally just absconding from me in the night despite what I do or what I say or how much I tell her I regret saying that she’s nothing and that I don’t need her. 

But after thinking about it for a bit just now, at 5am in the morning, I’m realizing that that can’t be true. I’m almost certain that most of my fellow Americans probably have tremendous trouble getting a good night’s rest for reasons like obesity and stress and age and (blue) light exposure and so on, and that most people are probably compensating for their everyday sleep deprivation with stimulants.

And this is all a pleasing thought: Other people aren’t really getting more work done than me because of some greater ability to work through tiredness, they are simply on amphetamines and caffeine and I just haven’t joined them. 

Let’s see what the numbers say. 

  • National Coffee Association found in 2020 that 70% of Americans drink coffee at least once every week while 62% drink that turbid water everyday 

  • To my surprise, the most marked uptick in the use of ADHD medication has been in women in particular (need to verify this further later on). In a study tracking prescriptions for ADHD meds between 2003 and 2015, which included a sample of over 4 million women, the CDC found that the number of adult women taking this class of prescription drugs rose from 1% to 4% in the specified timeframe. That’s insane and I’m not sure what’s going on. Some explanations have been that the diagnostic criteria for ADHD have become more broad, but this doesn’t explain the uptick in a demo that historically has been diagnosed with ADHD significantly less often than their male counterparts, with the CDC reporting that male children are a bit over twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than young girls (13% of young men vs 5.6% of young women). 

  • National study (with relatively small sample of around 2,500 people and from 2015) found that nearly 11% of undergraduate college students used adderall in the past year as a performance drug

  • Etc etc.

A lot of you are literally wired. 

There’s lightning flashing outside my window as I write this and the same thing is happening inside your bodies right now, inexplicable vibes and energy. 

But anyway, tell me your thoughts/experience in the comments. How many of you live on stimulants and what is it like? Are most people you know wired on something? Discuss—