Nootropics/ smart drugs have been in use since ancient times, one way or the other. Recently, the use of nootropics has soared to new levels. They are not only being used by students but also by professionals and elderly, alike. Nootropics can improve memory, increase focus and concentration and believe it or not, they can positively affect your brain health.
However, nootropics are just like any other drug and come with their own set of side-effects. Some of them may be temporary and some of them may be long-lasting, but the most important thing to remember is that these smart drugs are not without their disadvantages.
As alluring as the prospect of improving your memory, focus and brain health may seem, it is imperative that you weigh the pros and cons before using any drugs. Though there are many people who are perfectly alright with using these smart drugs for a longer period of time, you should keep in mind that each individual’s body chemistry is different and how the drug is metabolized and absorbed in the body varies from person to person. Let us see how nootropic use can affect you, in a negative way!
They Can Alter Brain Chemistry
We know how the nootropics work. They increase blood flow to the brain and also affect the neurotransmitter levels within the brain. Brain scans of individuals, taking nootropics for long, have shown that they can alter the way the brain works. Depending on the nootropic being used, certain areas of the brain have been shown to either shrink or expand.
This leads to alteration of normal brain chemistry and subsequent inhibition of brain functions. Though these changes are commonly associated with long-term use of nootropics, even the safest of nootropics have been implicated.
They Can Negatively Affect Cognitive Abilities
Nootropics are generally taken to improve cognitive abilities. These effects are only visible if they are taken for a short period of time. If nootropics are taken for a longer period of time, it is believed that the brain becomes tolerant to its effects and in fact requires the same amount of drug to perform its normal functions.
These effects have been compared to the effects of nicotine on the brain.Initially, the brain becomes tolerant and then becomes dependent to perform everyday functions.
This is one side-effect that is commonly seen with the use of stimulatory nootropics such as Provigil. The stimulatory nootropics tend to keep one alert at all times, which can eventually take a toll on the rest of the body. The drug literally forces your body to create and expend energy, even when you are tired! This disrupts the circadian rhythm of the body and may even promote pre-mature aging.
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This is one of the most common side-effects of taking nootropics for long. As we have mentioned earlier on, nootropics are just like any other drug. The longer you take them, the more your body will become dependent on them to perform even the smallest of tasks.
It has been reported that nootropic users become so dependent on them that they are unable to perform even normal, day-to-day tasks without using these drugs!
Lack of Research
Though nootropics have been in use for a long time, no official research has been done. A lack of research actually makes it all a big risk. Sure, many people have been taking nootropics for a long time without any obvious side-effects, but it is always a risk when you are taking a drug that alters your homeostatic balance. A thorough research is always required when it comes to drug safety!
Nootropics have been used principally to improve memory, both by students and professionals. However, recently, it has been shown that just like benzodiazepines and other CNS depressants, long-term use of nootropics has been linked to memory impairment. Although, no specific research has been done regarding this matter but it has been established that long-term use of nootropics can lead to memory damage.
Nootropics Negatively Affect Neurotransmission
Nootropics work by increasing neurotransmitter release in various parts of the brain. They specifically increase the release of acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin. However, long-term use of nootropics can actually deplete the levels of these neurotransmitter within the brain.
This depletion negatively impacts the brain and even after you have stopped taking the drug, it takes a lot of time for your brain to re-establish neurotransmitter homeostasis. These alterations in the neurotransmitter levels inadvertently affect your sleep cycle and the quality of your sleep, as well.
Nootropics come with their share of minor side-effects as well, usually associated with short-term use. These include headaches, dizziness, migraines and even skin rashes.
Nootropics Can Be Used for a Short Period of Time, But If You Intend to Use Them for a Longer Period of Time, Make Sure You Do Some Research and Know As Much As You Can About Them!