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What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics or smart drugs are cognitive or memory enhancers. They are natural or synthetic substances that can have a positive impact on mental skills. Nootropics work by altering neurotransmitters or chemical messengers in the brain. They have been said to help people who are suffering from a form of memory loss, but this has not been approved by the FDA so the lack of trials, for these nootropics, makes the information not to be completely valid. It may work for some, but not others and others might have negative side effects from taking the nootropics.  

What Are the Types of Nootropics?

As stated, some nootropics can improve memory while others improve cognition and increase mental alertness, sensory perception, and learning. For this reason, people will often take two different nootropics together or stack them to try to get a better outcome. This can end up not being a good idea, as many nootropics are not approved by the FDA and you can stack two that do not work well together or even take one that you become addicted to such as Adderall. What is Adderall and what is it used to treat?

More About Different Types of Nootropics

Adderall, a stimulant, is a prescription nootropic often used to treat ADHD. Donepezil, a cognitive and memory enhancer, is also a prescription nootropic used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Modafinil, another type of prescription nootropic, is used to treat narcolepsy and shift work disorder. Nootropics are used every day, and many people may not even realize they are taking one. Both caffeine and nicotine are nootropics. 

Three Main Categories of Nootropics

Nootropics fall into three different categories: prescription drugs, synthetic (artificial) substances, or dietary supplements. Some of the natural nootropics or dietary supplements can include:

  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • American Ginseng
  • Andrographis Paniculata
  • L-Theanine
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Bacopa Monnieri 

Synthetic and prescription nootropics can be grouped. Some of these can include:

  • Citicoline
  • Piracetam 
  • Ampakines 
  • Cerebrolysin 
  • Adderall 
  • Modafinil 
  • Armodafinil
  • Donepezil

Do Nootropics Work?

Studies have shown that many nootropics do work. The National Institute of Health Frontiers in Psychiatry “Pharmacological Human Enhancement: An Overview of the Looming Bioethical and Regulatory Challenges” says:

Cognitive enhancement, a rather broad-ranging principle, can be achieved in various ways: healthy eating and consistent physical exercise can lead to long-term improvements in many cognitive domains; commonplace stimulants such as caffeine, on the other hand, temporarily raise levels of alertness, attentiveness, and concentration; sedative substances are also used as an indirect form of enhancement to relax before an exam or an important meeting. Such approaches raise no ethical issue. Nonetheless, clinical research has led to the off-label use of drugs called nootropics or “smart drugs,” which can, under certain conditions, elicit some degree of cognition-improving effects: methylphenidate and modafinil can enhance working memory and concentration in healthy individuals, although the significance and effectiveness of such applications are dubious. Such “cognitive enhancement” methods, however, do raise multiple ethical issues, and their contentious nature has caused bioethical authorities to layout opinions and recommendations meant to regulate their use. (NIH)

However, natural nootropics can improve brain health in a variety of ways. Nootropics are vasodilators, so they widen the blood vessels and improve blood flow to various brain parts. Because nootropics do widen the blood vessels, allowing for more oxygen and glucose to reach different regions in the brain. Also, natural nootropics can decrease inflammation and prevent the aging of some brain cells.

Are Nootropics Safe to Use?

The FDA does not regulate most nootropics. As a result, the safety and efficacy of the drug and dosage and frequency have not been established through clinical trials. In addition, of the nootropics that are FDA regulated, some of them can be addictive. Adderall, for instance, is a very addictive stimulant drug. Also, nootropics can be dangerous to take for anyone that has a co-occurring mental health disorder; they could potentially cause a bad reaction to occur. Some of the potential side-effects that could occur can include:

  • Severe Anxiety
  • Restlessness 
  • Panic Attacks
  • Hypomania
  • Paranoia and Psychosis
  • Exacerbation of Certain Mental Health Conditions like ADHD, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, or Schizophrenia 

Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before starting a supplement or new medication.

Start Nootropics Treatment Program at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset

Those of us with addiction issues must always be careful when thinking of trying something new. The best possible thing we can do for ourselves is to concentrate on getting our mind and body healthy by eating healthy, exercising regularly, meditating, and working through our recovery. But, unfortunately, no substance can give us what we can get through getting healthy naturally.  Evoke Wellness at Cohasset provides various drug and alcohol treatment programs, including detox, acute treatment, stabilization, outpatient, and aftercare support. We have the most compassionate, understanding, and professional staff available to meet all of your needs. It is our job to make sure you have the most comfortable detox possible. So if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, join us and get started towards a lifetime of recovery.