Is ADHD drug causing epidemic of Wall Street suicides?

Monday, April 14, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Wall Street, suicides, Adderall

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(NaturalNews) In the manic world of high finance, it's high stress, 18-hour days, and a "what have you done for me lately?" attitude from the chief executives.

Most financial sector workers know this going into the field. In fact, according to the New York Post, many live by this rule - and it's not really a matter of choice:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.

It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed.

Every morning a lion wakes up.

It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death.

It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: When the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

So, has this mantra, coupled with the incredibly demanding and fast pace of the financial industry, led to a rash of eight high-profile suicides of financial sector employees in the past three months? It is a mystery that has mental health pros baffled.

As the Post pointed out, late winter for many folks is a time of depression. The weather's cold, dank and dreary; lack of sunlight and outside activity wears on many people.

But for bankers and others in the financial sector, depression from any source is usually mitigated with interest in how large end-of-year bonuses will be.

However, compensation has been decreasing across the entire financial sector, reports say, due in large part to firms having to deal with new mandates that affect bottom lines.

That's one aspect. The other for mental health professions studying this phenomenon is why such a large number of these suicides are so public.

A breakdown of the suicides

-- Autumn Radtke, a 28-year-old American CEO of bitcoin exchange firm First Meta, leapt 25 stories to her death from her Singapore apartment on Feb. 28. In an Inc. magazine essay she posted online titled, "The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship," she wrote, "Everything has its price."

-- Li Junjie, a 33-year-old JPMorgan finance pro leaped to his death from the roof of the company's 30-story Hong Kong office tower Feb. 18.

-- Gabriel Magee, 39, a vice president with JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank technology arm in the UK, also jumped to his death, from the roof of the bank's 33-story Canary Wharf tower in London, on Jan. 28.

-- On Feb. 3, Ryan Henry Crane, 37, a JPM executive director who worked in New York, was found dead inside his Stamford, Conn., home.

-- On Jan. 31, Mike Dueker - chief economist at Russell Investments and a former Federal Reserve bank economist - was found dead at the side of a road that leads to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

-- On Jan. 26, William Broeksmit, 58, a former senior risk manager at Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in a house in South Kensington, according to London police.

What's more, while this cluster of suicides is certainly noteworthy, it isn't the first. In 2009, during the height of the global financial crisis, Forbes reported on several high-profile suicides in the financial sector, some of whom jumped to their death.

Regarding this most recent cluster, five of eight deaths have been from a building; another stepped in front of a train. Half of the suicides were on their way to work.

"Our world has become so social - and the barriers of privacy have been [so] broken down. Perhaps that could be a reason for the public displays, especially for those in their 20s," Carolyn Wolf, executive partner and director of the mental-health law practice at Abrams Fensterman in Midtown, told the Post.

Dr. John Draper, the project director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said it likely has more to do with access to means than anything else.

"If you live or work in a high-rise or have access at work to harmful items - like a gun - then that could be most lethal means available, without any further meaning to location," he said.

Either way, financial sector employees will say that the culture surrounding trading desks has changed. Markets are up, as evidenced by a blossoming stock market, but head counts and compensation are both down; the struggle to make your mark is more intense.

Does a certain ADHD drug have anything to do with these financial-sector suicides? As reported by the Post:

To that end, many of today's 20- and 30-somethings on trading desks turn to their trusted college friend, Adderall, to get running in the morning and then in the afternoon and again at night.

A drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, it is considered this era's cocaine. Users take it to remain laser-focused throughout their incredibly long workdays that often stretch into the wee hours of each morning.

"Substance abuse (like [that of] Adderall) only exacerbates underlying mental-health issues," Wolf said.

"It's a vicious cycle, combining the alpha male culture ... with addiction. You lose the ability to cope," added Draper.

For the record, the so-called "father of ADHD" admitted, before he died, that it was a bogus condition. See that report here:

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