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What are Neuro-Enhancing Drugs?

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  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2018
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A lot of substances, foods, and nutritional supplements may increase cognition slightly. Some drugs are tailored to help improve focus for those with conditions like attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). They have a known effect on cognition, and when used as prescribed are designed to improve focus issues for people with ADHD. When these medications are used for those people who do not need them but who still want an increase in cognition or ability to focus, they may be classed as neuro-enhancing drugs.

While there can be many potential drugs used to increase cognition, the most common are methylphenidate, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and modafinil. All three are stimulants, the first two routinely prescribed for ADHD, and the third prescribed for some sleep disorders and for ADHD. All three have the ability to increase cognition, improve function, and make it easier to work without much sleep.

If anyone could take neuro-enhancing drugs without potential consequence, it might be great. Each of these medicines and other neuro-enhancers may have serious consequences, however. As stimulants, all three are more or less addictive. They also come with a range of side effects that include poor appetite and sleep disturbances.

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Those in favor of using neuro-enhancing drugs to achieve better academic or work success make the argument that these drugs are given to children. If they can make children better more effective students, overcoming things like ADHD, they argue, the drugs should not be too dangerous for teens or young adults. Proponents also ask why medication that improves cognition should not be available to anyone who wants it, provided it is used as instructed and in a safe manner.

Many people are not waiting for a final say from doctors on this matter. There are a number of teens and especially college students using these neuro-enhancing drugs. It is hard to say exactly how much of current use of these drugs actually constitutes abuse, but it is certainly well-illustrated that a number of students see these medications as a method for achieving what they need, and perhaps giving them extra edge when it comes to academic performance.

At present, most doctors deplore the use of neuro-enhancing drugs simply for better cognition. Doctors must acknowledge that humans already use many substances that do this, including stimulants like caffeine, though these are not prescribed medicines. Some worry about what they call the field of "cosmetic neurology," where people unnecessarily take medications they do not need that will enhance brain performance.

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hidingplace
Post 3

@goldenmist - The general idea is that snorting a substance causes its effects to come on faster, but you’re right that it’s certainly not healthy to do. These kinds of pills contain binders which is not something you want to be ingesting through your nose. It’s not even the most effective way to take these drugs anyway, because you’re probably going to lose some of it when you’re crushing it up. If you have to use these drugs, don’t risk hurting yourself any more than you already are by snorting them.

goldenmist
Post 2

I’ve met a lot of people who use these drugs to study as well. It seems common for them to crush up the pills and snort them which I know can’t be healthy. Does anyone know why they do this?

lapsed
Post 1

It’s important to note that these drugs are prescription only. The over-prescription of stimulants used to treat ADHD has been a problem for a while now and it leads to them being abused pretty regularly by a lot of students because it’s so easy for some people to get prescriptions that they chose to sell them. I personally know a few university students who regularly use dextroamphetamine so they can do marathon study sessions or to finish off a last minute assignment.

In general it’s probably easier, cheaper and safer to just do the work and not leave it until the last minute, although I guess I do understand the appeal. Even though taking any medication you’re not professionally

prescribed could probably be categorized as abuse, these particular drugs aren’t at all debilitating; students really can focus and work for much longer periods than usual, I’ve seen it firsthand.

Personally though, I don’t think it’s worth the awful side effects. I’d rather not have to stay up for several days straight and then feel awful for even longer after that just to avoid doing the work throughout the semester.

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