Smart drugs are a commonly used non-medical term for nootropics. The term nootropics was first used in 1972 when scientists observed the memory-boosting abilities of piracetam. Since then, several other nootropics have been released on the market.
Nootropics, also known as cognition enhancers or memory enhancers, are compounds that improve your brain function. They boost your memory and help you focus better on tasks. Smart drugs also make you feel motivated, which helps lift your mood and make you think positively.
Nootropics are available as both prescription drugs and dietary supplements.
Nootropics treat Alzheimer, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and narcolepsy. They work by enhancing brain function, increasing focus and attention, learning, creativity, and clarity. Nootropics also boost your memory and intelligence.
Some over-the-counter nootropics available as dietary supplements can help improve memory, focus, and overall brain performance. They are not used to treat any health disorders but may be used to enhance concentration, thinking, and learning.
Nootropics are divided into two main categories; prescription nootropics and non-prescription nootropics. Prescription nootropics are stimulants, while non-prescription nootropics are dietary supplements.
Types of prescription nootropics include:
You must not take these medications without a doctor's prescription. In many countries, they're often illegal to buy without a prescription.
Types of non-prescription nootropics include:
These are naturally occurring, over-the-counter nootropics often available as supplements in the market.
Nootropics are brain stimulants. They relax the small blood vessels present in the brain. This causes more blood to reach the brain. A surplus amount of oxygenated and nutrient blood allows the brain to work more efficiently and adequately.
Another way nootropics boost brain performance is by increasing the rate of respiration (energy production) in the mitochondria (the batteries of cells). The faster the energy is produced, the better the brain works.
Certain nootropics, such as Modafinil, work on parts of the brain; the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. They inhibit dopamine receptors by increasing dopamine (neurotransmitter) levels in the brain. Nootropics influence the release of neurotransmitters in multiple ways, i.e., improving receptor sensitivity, stimulating neurotransmitter synthesis, preventing neurotransmitter damage, and providing nervous chemical precursors. The effect of these drugs can last up to 10 to 15 hours in the body.
Caffeine is the most widely used nootropic worldwide due to the mass consumption of coffee and chocolate. Caffeine is a brain stimulant. It is safe for most people in reasonable amounts.
L-Theanine works by increasing the production of alpha waves in the brain. This causes the brain to be relaxed yet vigilant at the same time.
Omega-3 fatty acids are the most well-researched nootropics. They protect neurons and help prevent brain ageing.
Nootropics offer a wide range of benefits in both categories, i.e., treatment options and health supplements for a better quality of life.
Nootropics are also helpful in treating behavioural problems, including impulsivity, short attention span, aggression, and restlessness.
Like all medications, prescription nootropics may cause side effects if not carefully taken. Common side effects of these medications include:
Severe side effects that need emergency medical attention include:
You should always follow your doctor's advice while taking these prescription drugs. Notify your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience any change in your condition. Healthcare professionals should closely monitor their patients on prescription nootropics to help them deal with any after-effects and record their progress.
Nootropics work by changing the physiology of your brain. Therefore, it is important to take certain safety measures to avoid medication misuse's harmful effects, including drug reaction, addiction, and overdose.
Smart drugs or prescription nootropics are cognitive enhancers widely used to treat ADHD, Alzheimer, and narcolepsy. OTC nootropics like caffeine can improve memory, focus, and brain speed. People should always consult a doctor before taking any type of nootropics as its misuse may cause side effects, including drug addiction and drug overdose.
Other practical ways to boost brain performance include a balanced diet, exercise, stress management, and psychotherapy.