If you, or more likely your child, have been diagnosed with ADHD, the doctor may have suggested a nootropic. Nootropics are cognitive enhancement drugs. Essentially, they’re drugs that boost memory, focus, and the other mental abilities people need to interact with day to day life. There are a lot of myths about these drugs, so hopefully, you’re here to learn.
What Things Are Nootropics?
By and large, nootropics are stimulants. There are things called racetams, but these have questionable effects on the body. Most doctors will stay away from racetams, instead going with something stimulant based.
That said, nootropics don’t have to be pharmaceutical grade stimulants. Some stimulants such as caffeine can often work as nootropics, and be capable enough on their own.
How Do Various Nootropics Work?
Caffeine is an excellent example of a mild nootropic. Everyone knows how that works. It helps kick your brain into working, helping you wake up and pay attention. This is exactly what you want in a nootropic!
The next step up is a class of drugs called Eugeroic. These are “wakefulness promoters.” These work in a similar way to dopamine reuptake inhibitors work. That is, they keep the brain from processing dopamine quite as quickly as it would normally process. This helps keep you awake, and as a side effect improves other cognitive abilities.
The step up from that is Methylphenidate. This is a potent dopamine reuptake inhibitor, keeping the brain from processing the dopamine for a much longer period. This not only helps with cognitive functions but also with mood issues. Doctors have been known to prescribe methylphenidate for depression, though this practice is not commonly used today.
The big guns on the list of nootropics are amphetamines. The most common prescription amphetamine currently is Adderall, though there are other medications. These are not dopamine reuptake inhibitors but instead floods the brain with it. This causes there to be so much more dopamine within the brain that it can’t help but process more.
Are Nootropics Dangerous?
The pharmaceutical nootropics can be dangerous, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Just like too much coffee can cause your heart to race, too much of any stimulant can cause issues. In the case of overdose, people have been known to die of heart attacks.
Also, some people tend to exhibit a style of mania. Because they’re so happy and feeling so high, they start to make poor choices. This is similar to use of the illegal drug cocaine.
And lastly, many studies indicate long-term use in children can stunt a child’s growth. Many doctors will suggest waiting until the child is around 12 before prescribing prescription stimulants.
Ultimately, nootropics are a necessary medical substance for many people. While it’s true they sometimes get abused by those just looking for a good time, individuals with ADHD and other cognitive illnesses need nootropics. It can help them lead a working, fulfilled life. So if your doctor is suggesting one of these drugs, either for you or your child, don’t dismiss it out of hand. You might be surprised at what happens!