Neuroenhancement at work - a brief overview

An overview about Neuro-Enhancement in Germany

In 2015 the German health insurance company Deutsche Angestellten-Krankenkasse (DAK) published a new study on neuroenhancement at work which was widely noticed in German national media. Based on the sickness levels of their insured persons the DAK publishes a yearly report which included data on neuroenhancement for the first time in 2009. This report became one of the first German studies to gather extensive knowledge concerning the use and effects of pharmaceutical neuroenhancement. Six years passed until the 2015 study included the topic “Doping at the work place” again. Similar to the 2009 report, the 2015 study concludes that the use of neuroenhancment at the workplace is still not very common.

According to interviewed experts the use of pharmaceutical neuroenhancement will not expand in the near future since the efficacy of the substances used for enhancement purposes is very limited. Nevertheless the use of antidepressants, methylphenidate and amphetamines will stay relevant in German workplaces. Comparing the small benefits of pharmaceutical neuroenhancment to the health risks associated with its use, the interviewed experts jointly advise against the use of pharmaceuticals for enhancing purposes. Instead, they suggest that a healthy diet, meditation and efficient work organization will be more helpful in achieving our goals than taking substances.

The data from the report shows that in Germany, 7-11% of the working population have used enhancement substances at least once in past, 3-6% of the working population has been taking substances occasionally for enhancement purposes, and 2-3.5% of the working population has been taking substances regularly, meaning at least two times a month. Therefore, the use of enhancement increased slightly in comparison to the last report in 2009. The knowledge about the possibility of using neuroenhancment to increase ones performance or concentration has increased in society but there is still high rate of 83% of the population that rejects the practice of neuroenhancement in the work place. Only 10% of the persons studied can imagine making use of neuroenhancement. Interestingly, most of the users got access to their substances through a medical prescription.