Morning does not start with coffee: a review of popular brain stimulants

By | October 31, 2020

The human brain is losing the war against the growing amount of information it has to process. Neuroscientists argue that the human brain is very outdated, and attention is gradually becoming our most valuable resource. And rare too – reading books turns into a task that requires concentration that is almost unbearable in the age of Twitter and BuzzFeed .

But nature and scientists have presented people with a variety of “doping for the brain.” And in the information age, which involves processing an incredible amount of data, caffeine is no longer enough for many. TJ columnist Ivan Talachev reviewed the main drugs for improving brain function, found out which of them can be bought at the nearest pharmacy, which you will have to look for from exporters, and which are strictly prohibited in Russia.

How it works

The human brain is made up of neurons. They communicate with each other using electrochemical signals. Neurotransmitters and receptors play key roles in this communication . The former consist of signals transmitted between cells, and the latter are special proteins that serve as “receivers”.

Neurons have their own “chain reaction”. If more excitatory signals come to the cell than inhibitory ones, it itself begins to transmit further awakening signals along the “web”. The biochemistry of the brain and its manifestations explains many phenomena: joy, sadness, euphoric and depressive states, as well as what happens to human attention and memory.

Nootropics and drugs similar to them in composition change either the content of signals transmitted between brain cells or the rules for their processing. None of them are in the usual sense “fuel for the head”: they do not provide food to the brain. This task is handled mainly by glucose.

Data on the effectiveness of nootropic drugs vary widely. The action of many of them is not fully understood. Doctors complain about the lack of funding and the lack of interest of both pharmacological concerns and scientists in drugs of this kind. Nootropics have been and remain the fun of students, freelancers and athletes.

Despite a popular misconception, nootropics don’t make people smarter. They do not give all the knowledge of the world, but when taken, they increase concentration and improve memory so that some of them fit in the head. The reaction becomes faster (hence the attention of athletes, as well as anti-doping commissions, to this category of drugs), and the movement is clearer. This is by no means a “miracle pill”: the side effects of many of them are in the dozens.

To drink or not to drink

The main rule of thumb when looking to nootropics is to make sure they are really needed. You shouldn’t drink them out of boredom or interest in fashionable nootropics If a person’s activity is associated with the processing of large flows of information and, most importantly, he copes with it poorly, then turning to stimulants really makes sense. But a doctor’s consultation in such matters does not hurt.

It is also worth remembering that stimulation of the body’s activity in any way is a “rent” of forces from it. One way or another, the brain will demand its payment. After completing a long project under the influence of nootropics or other stimulants, you can sleep for 16-18 hours and suffer apathy or irritability for a few more days.

In order to take many of the listed drugs as smoothly as possible, it is recommended that you observe your sleep, food and drink regimen. For the duration of the action or course of medication, it makes sense to eat correctly and regularly and monitor water intake. Even if the task of taking the pills is to stay awake and to keep working as long as possible, it is recommended to take at least 2-4 hours of sleep breaks.

Another interesting tactic for dealing with overload in the information field is not adaptation of the organism to it, but, on the contrary, in a thorough filtering of the incoming data. To strictly regulate topics and things worthy of attention, throwing away “garbage” and negative factors: maybe this is precisely the secret of adaptation to the new information space – to allow it to pass by to a greater extent. At least in this case, you will not have to drink any questionable pills.

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