More and more people are experimenting with smart drugs in a bid to achieve maximum productivity, and to increase their focus and their creativity. Nootropics are often prescribed for people who have ADHD, but even individuals who are generally able to focus are looking at taking them to get them through boring days at work, or to help them finish those challenging essays.
While some people find that even something as innocuous as caffeine can be good for them to help them focus, others believe that they need to take stronger focus enhancers.
Nootropics can help to improve your memory, cognitive function and focus – but only if you are healthy. They can contribute to improving your alertness if you are a little tired, but they won’t completely ‘reset your brain’ if you are genuinely sleep deprived. There is some evidence that they can help to treat the decline of function that is associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, but in those who are young, fit and healthy, the most desirable function of nootropics is just to help someone focus and ‘get stuff done’.
Are Nootropics Addictive?
It’s only natural for people to be concerned about the potentially addictive properties of nootropics – especially if you’re talking about the more addictive ‘leisure’ drugs such as magic mushrooms. However, interestingly enough if you are talking them in the smaller doses that are associated with brain hacking and productivity improvements, you wouldn’t need to worry about this. At those small doses, you’ll enjoy little more than the buzz of alertness, and the kind of clear focus that comes with the use of milder drugs like Racetams.
Many different drugs have a positive effect on cognitive function. For example, amphetamines help to improve your control, work on episodic memory and attention and are excellent for those with ADHD. They can even help people to focus on specific tasks, and improve their motivation to focus on tasks that require a significant amount of effort.
Methylphenidates, on the other hand, help with planning, memory, and inhibitory control, but they require good dose control – at elevated doses, they can decrease learning capacity because they cause the brain to activate neurons that are not involved in the current task.
Racetams such as piracetam are considered to be some of the most effective nootropics, and they are even used to help people who are recovering from strokes. Meanwhile, modafinil (also known as Provigil), armodafinil (or Nuvigil) and Adrafinil are all a part of a related family and are useful for increasing focus and improving dopamine release. Adrafinil is available without a prescription, but it can put stress on your liver if you take it frequently, so it should be used sparingly.
Wakefulness-promoting drugs such as modafinil are useful for improving reasoning and problem solving – especially in people who are struggling with sleep issues. They are often prescribed to people who have narcolepsy.
Caffeine is useful for increasing alertness in most people, even if they were not sleep deprived, but people tend to need relatively high doses to improve their performance at specific tasks. L-theanine can have a nootropic effect, too, and this is found in both black tea and green tea.
Interestingly enough, nicotine is good for improving alertness, and can also help with memory too, and scientists are looking for ways to exploit this without triggering the addictive properties of the substance since to be classed as a nootropic, nicotine should not be harmful.
Forskolin is thought to be both a nootropic and also helpful for other forms of performance enhancement. It can be made more effective by combining it with artichoke extract. However, there is still some debate about the effectiveness of this ‘stack’ compared to more traditional nootropics, or even brands such as CILTEP.