The use of brain – enhancing smart drugs is widespread and on the rise. Drugs such as Ritalin normally prescribed for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders are being bought online and used by some students to improve concentration and make them pass the exams with good grades.
Some products which are regarded as safe, and labelled as ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ have been marketed as mood-enhancers, but found to contain components of antidepressants.
Surprisingly, most students who use these drugs don’t come from the so called ‘druggy’ environment but from good, respectable background.
They often believe that their ordinary, healthy brains need a helping hand in order to get better exam results and achieve higher exam scores. The lure of popping a pill in their mouth and gain immediate focus, attentiveness and better memory retention is often too hard to resist. They want a pill that instantly gives them a razor sharp mind rather than follow conventional ways which I will discuss later on this article. Yes, they want a magic bullet!
But the question is, do these so called ‘smart drugs’ really work? Can we just pop them into our mouth and not suffer the consequences?
Some actors claim that their ability to remember their lines increase when they take these drugs. Little is known what will happen later, under prolonged usage. People who are dependant on these drugs often suffer from headaches, dizziness, insomnia, serious mood swings, mental disorders, liver damage and even death.
Some even find it difficult to wean themselves off them later.
The use of these drugs for enhancement rather than treatment is often seen as unjustified, since they offer very minor improvement but the damage they cause can last very long. Often the damage is even harder to detect earlier and when detected later on, the effects are usually impossible to reverse.
Do we really want our brains to be affected by these drugs in our quest for ‘smarter brains?’ Maybe not.
Luckily, there are safer methods which students can use to achieve focus, alertness, memory boost and hence attain the grades they desperately want to achieve.
Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to ‘exercise it’. The more you work out your brain, the better you will be able to process and remember information. To strengthen your brain cells, you need to keep learning, developing new skills and constantly keeping yourself engaged.
Physical exercise also helps the brain to stay sharp by increasing oxygen to your brain, therefore improving memory retention. It also reduces stress hormones by balancing the brain chemicals, hence control your mood and increase the ‘fell good factor’ Exercises which keep your blood pumping such as aerobics and jogging will stimulate your brain and set you for better learning and good memory retention.
Not forgetting the old adage ‘We are what we eat’, a good balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole meal food is also crucial for your body.
With proper physical exercise and a good balanced diet, a good night sleep can easily be achieved, which is needed for rebooting our brain and enhance memory.
Honestly, what other safer methods to make us smart can there be, other than this?