From dorm room raids to high-tech neurological research, "smart drugs" are in the news a lot lately, and so is misinformation about them. If you believe you're too reliant on these mind-altering substances, you can work on your habits at Saint Jude Retreats, but it's important not to demonize these drugs or afford them any special power. They aren't any more "addictive" than any other substance and your use isn't the inevitable outcome of a disease or programmed change. Learn why so you can take charge of your habits and choices.
Smart drugs, also known as nootropics, include any prescription medication or chemical compound that's designed to improve the way the human brain works. Although most psychiatric drugs are intended to improve cognitive function on some level, they usually work by repairing chemical imbalances that are caused by a diagnosed condition. Smart drugs are popular among recreational users because their "superhuman" side effects aren't limited to those who suffer permanent or long-term imbalances.
Many smart drugs are manufactured and prescribed to treat disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), that would otherwise make it difficult to focus or process information. However, nootropics are also used to elevate mental functions beyond normal limits and obstacles, such as lack of sleep or boredom. If you don't have a medical need for stimulants, they may still improve your cognitive capabilities, allowing you to stay awake longer, focus on new information, engage with other people, and more.
Because these cognitive effects are ideal for demanding schedules, students and professionals increasingly participate in prescription drug diversion efforts by sharing and obtaining these drugs without legal prescriptions. They rely on the intended effects to stay productive, meet deadlines, or stay awake. However, they don't have a diagnosed medical need for the chemicals within them so some people see this habit as misuse.
Academic and medical professionals also cite health concerns when they warn of the potential for smart drug misuse. There are some legitimate reasons to moderate or restrict your use, but none of them mean that smart drugs are inherently "addictive". In fact, no drug, in and of itself, is addictiveâ€”you make the choice to use the drug as you will.
Biologically, long-term amphetamine use can cause cardiovascular problems, and short-term use can suppress your appetite or exhaustion levels so that you don't sleep or eat properly and can disrupt a normally functioning cycle significantly.
As long as you rely on chemicals or other external influences to improve your energy, focus, motivation, and other cognitive functions, you won't identify or correct the other factors you control that contribute to this need. Some cognitive problems are caused by irresponsible habits (for example, skipping sleep leads to exhaustion), rather than chemical imbalances. Using smart drugs give you a pass to continue these habits without facing the consequences, but after awhile, you may not believe you're equipped to perform without using them.
At Saint Jude Retreats, we encourage our guests to learn how to tap into their mind's potential themselves. Whether you have a prescription or use smart drugs recreationally, you're fully capable of living without them if that's what you choose to do. If you're interested in looking at your substance use habits in a different way, call one of our Family Consultants who can help you decide if our program would be right for you.