Do Smart Drugs Help in Managing Stress?

By Charlie ParsonsJan 05, 2021196

Do Smart Drugs Help in Managing Stress?

We are thriving in a constantly competitive world. Everyone wants to become better, as well as perform better than others in each aspect. To achieve our goals or to gain perfection, we push ourselves every day to work harder. Work-holism can overtake us quickly, which results in stress. Mental stress has a very negative reputation because stress is not always bad. Many individuals tend to perform better under pressure, which we refer to as good stress.

As per recent review papers, people happen to use smart drugs or cognitive enhancers to improve their performance in various aspects of work, including taking an examination, giving an important presentation, or completing work deadlines. Recently, the use of beta-blockers has increased. It works to improve mood, increases concentration, managing stress, and helps control sleep. However, the concern of safety and ethics still exists a large population of healthy individuals opts for smart drugs for stress management.

According to a 2015 survey, roughly 5000 employees at a health insurance company in German determined that about 6.7% were using smart drugs to cope with mental stress and anxiety. However, the actual figure of individuals can be higher. Besides, around 10%-15% of students globally use cognitive boosters to help them manage academic-related stress. Some have admitted that smart drugs help them concentrate on their studies.

Promising Effects of Smart Drugs

Several university students say that there are three reasons why they use smart drugs to increase the competitive edge; to control sleepiness or lack of sleep; to increase work-associated motivation. They say that nootropic drugs help them to perform during stressful times. They find cognitive boosters helpful when the task is less interesting; it is easier to delay such tasks. The researchers have estimated the effect of both smart drugs modafinil and methylphenidate (Ritalin). They did observe improvement in the cognitive functions, including constant attention or focus, memory, planning, and problem-solving ability. In short, improvement in all these factors directly reduces stress. In addition, modafinil also serves to improve pleasure and motivation in a task.

However, smart drugs are not useful to only deal with everyday work. But, some professions show the importance of smart drugs, such as doctors, military officials, and air traffic control. For such professionals, cognitive enhancing medicines such as modafinil are a lifesaver. Studies suggest that smart drugs benefit sleep-deprived doctors during the night shift or those who are working for long hours. It helps in emergencies when they need efficient thinking ability and decision-making under stressful conditions.

The use of smart drugs globally has expanded in recent years, including in students. Now, smart drugs are not only limited to university students but have also reached primary school students. Several doctors in the US prescribe Adderall amphetamine salts, which are prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy to healthy kids from lower-middle-class families to improve concentration and focus in studies.

Smart Drugs and Stress Management

Undoubtedly, smart drugs have helped a lot of people to cope up with different levels of task-related stress as well as anxiety. Experiences of many individuals who use smart drugs suggest smart drugs improve efficiency in work when your brain needs a little kick to focus under deadline pressure. Smart drugs such as modafinil control sleepiness in different health conditions. But the use of smart drugs in healthy individuals is rapidly increasing, and so does the safety concern. Is it ok to use these smart drugs to cope up with stress constantly? We need to focus on its safety issues.

The appropriate data on smart drugs is very scarce regarding their safety in healthy individuals for stress management. There are only surveys that shed light on the rough figures of individuals who use smart drugs. Therefore, the safety concern of various types of cognitive enhancers is a big issue. Studies regarding the long-term effect of smart drugs on healthy individuals need more research.

As we now know how widely smart drugs are used, there are various health risks that we are bearing if we are overdoing it. The most common stimulant to enhance wakefulness is tea and coffee. Caffeine is a common nootropic agent that also causes some health issues if used excessively. However, here we will discuss commonly used smart drugs.

Modafinil (Provigil)

It is one of the popular smart drugs and has gained a lot of attention globally. It got approval from FDA for the treatment of narcolepsy. It is popular among smart drug users; it offers various benefits such as increased alertness, better reaction time, increased cognitive function, and enhanced motivation. According to various clinical trials and studies, modafinil also improves attention, executive functions, and a higher capacity for learning. It is overall safe to use. However, over-using this drug can result in lower plasticity in the brain and may damage the user's memory.

Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine (Adderall)

It is another FDA-approved medicine, but Adderall is a prescription-based medicine for patients dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or AD-HD. People who use it as a smart drug experience improved intellectual sharpness and alertness. One major drawback of this drug is it may cause dependency in many cases. The risk side effects also increase. One may experience anxiety, weight loss, sweating, sleeplessness, lack of interest in sexual intercourse, and nausea. The risk of psychosis, heart attacks, and in some cases, sudden death is also very high.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

Ritalin is FDA approved, but for treating AD-HD. However, users experience increased focus and memory after taking this drug. It is widely used by students; as it enhances concentration. However, it may increase the risk of side effects such as reduced plasticity and degraded memory function, including nervousness, sweating, blurred vision, reduced appetite, weight loss, and nausea.