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Nootropics: Can a pill improve your skills for study and work?

The discovery that nootropics, one of the most widespread “smart drugs”, actually improves one’s cognitive abilities has been a small revolution in this unknown world. Brokers, students, workaholics … have spent years using substances to get that extra boost.

But it was suspected that none was quite effective. At least, not without effort and additional behaviors on the part of its users. Nootropics have just joined a list that begins with coffee and nicotine and has only one goal: to overcome the limits of our brain and our body.

What are nootropics?

Natural supplements, like almost all smart drugs. It was marketed as a drug against narcolepsy, but within a few years, the public discovered its other qualities: decreased fatigue, lack of sleep, extra concentration in any task, improved memory … A mental state in the that everything works with extraordinary lucidity (although there are cases of hallucinations), there are no distractions, there is no bed missing. Oh, and frequent travelers can forget the jet lag.

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Some users agreed that those who consume it could go to days without sleeping, but lie down quietly when they see fit. Effects are known for years and that made Provigil – the first commercial brand of nootropics – was made with a third of the market for prescription stimulants; almost always for uses not collected on the label.

What are its advantages?

The nootropics multiplied its sales tenfold in its first decade of life and became drug craze among people with greater mental stress researchers, computer scientists, students, senior executives. US media boosted it by the end of the last decade, as the military in several countries investigates the substance to create combat pilots and foot soldiers immune to fatigue.

It has even reached space, even the astronauts of the International Space Station … Nootropics are the grail of those who do not want drugs to go out party or live altered states of consciousness: only to be more effective.

Even Hollywood paid attention to it. The movie “Limitless” (2011) showed a Bradley Cooper capable of “obtaining a 100% of cerebral performance” with a magic pill. Of course, the Hollywood pill – inspired by the substance – made him a superhuman. And the premise will become series this fall, just in time to coincide with the confirmation of the “superpowers” of nootropics.

What are the risks?

The cultural problem is obvious: the moment we start to consume illegal substances to improve our performance we are establishing a kind of day-to-day doping. That is also not new; the difference is that now one with more “healthy” habits that consume a pill instead of four million stripes has replaced the stereotype of the braided broker.

Other users agree that you can become antisocial when you activate: the mind concentrates on the task ahead – which can be anything from devouring a technical manual to a game of Angry Birds that makes you miss the bus stop or the notion of time. It is also suspected that the drug is quite addictive if it is abused.

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