In recent years, there has been a boom of the so-called “smart drugs”. What are they? These are substances (either synthetic or natural) which healthy people can take in order to boost their performance in various tasks that require the brain to be intensely engaged for long periods of time.
In other words, people take these drugs in order to make themselves more alert, more focused, and to stay awake for longer periods of time in one go. They are intensely popular among night workers and competitive members of the academic circles. Check out this article to read a little more about the increase in the use of these substances all around the world.
So what are the actual uses of these things? Today, we take a look at one of the better-known representatives, the smart drug Adrafinil. It has several applications and we will take a look at the most common ones.
Improving your focus and raising your awareness levels
This is perhaps the most popular use of Adrafinil and all the related substances, especially among college students and the like. Studies conducted on the topic of the effects of Modafinil (of which Adrafinil is a prodrug) have repeatedly shown that it increases the focus and attention span of test subjects. These people performed remarkably better on tasks that tested memorization, reaction time, special orientation and planning, and recognizing various visual patterns.
Similar trials performed using Adrafinil itself yielded similar results, also demonstrating its ability to enhance mood and vigilance in the elderly population. You can read more about it in this academic paper on Adrafinil.
The way in which these drugs keep us awake and alert is fairly simple to understand. They are stimulants, meaning they increase your overall attention and energy levels.
Adrafinil accomplishes this by reducing the delta and theta brain waves (the wavelengths associated with sleep) and instead increases the rate of alpha wavelengths (which are associated with being engaged in the present moment).
To learn more about what brainwaves are and the different types of them, visit this page: https://brainworksneurotherapy.com/what-are-brainwaves.
Bringing a boost to your memory
This is closely linked to the effect of raising focus and awareness. As we already mentioned, Adrafinil and Modafinil are first cousins, so their effects are nearly identical. In particular, the studies of their effect on mnemonic capacity and cognitive abilities boast some impressive results.
They improve both episodic memory and working memory and help with issues of attention, which is why they are used in psychiatry to treat conditions like attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia.
Among the many different benefits of taking Adrafinil, this is arguably the one most sought after, likely because it is directly related to the eternal rat race for “making yourself smarter” and winning academic or professional achievements.
Helping you combat symptoms of depression
Believe it or not, a smart drug can have more benefits than simply improving your mental capacity and intellectual performance. Adrafinil, in particular, has been shown to help reduce symptoms of depression, something for which there is a booming need in modern society.
Depression and its associated conditions have always been a problem, and increasingly more so in the 21st century. See this article for some additional insight into depression types, statistics, treatment, and its steady rise among the modern-day populace. Considering this information, it is no wonder that a fair few people afflicted with this condition turn to smart drugs for help to defeat it.
How does Adrafinil achieve this effect?
It tricks your brain into releasing more dopamine and adrenaline into your system. Now, to keep it to simple everyday English, this means that your brain feeds the rest of your body more of the things that make it feel good while reducing the bad.
Adrenaline is responsible for much more than the proverbial “fight or flight” response. It kicks in not only in situations that threaten your life but in those that are more positive, like participating in a sports competition or cheering for your team, taking an exciting field trip, etc. Adrenaline is the giddiness we feel on our first day at a new school or company.
It is also partially responsible for reducing our physical pain, by interfering with the pain signals. Basically, it keeps our bodies in the dark about how bad it is until we can safely sit down and experience it properly. This is how a person with a nasty leg injury can still stand up and run away from a falling construction beam.
Coupled with the effects of dopamine, otherwise known as “the molecule of happiness”, which increases our motivation and enjoyment in things, this results in reduced stress and improved mood, allowing us to notice and appreciate the small pleasures in life.
If you would like to learn a little more about Adrafinil and the science behind it, this link is a good starting point. Regardless of how much background information you decide to gather about it, though, you should always stop to consult a licensed medical professional if you are considering using Adrafinil or any of its “cousins”. Just like any drug, it has its own set of possible side effects and conditions affecting its usage, so make sure you are prepared for those – unexpected problems could completely shut down the benefits you were going for in the first place.