What do you usually do when you are dead tired and not motivated to get through the rest of your day? Maybe you are one of the many people who simply pop a pill, regain focus and get back on track with what they were doing. That's not a bad thing at all.
In fact, if it works for you then, by all means, go for it. But if that pill is a nootropic then it's a drug, and as you might know, some drugs are habit-forming; meaning that without them you feel like you are sort of incapacitated. That is what usually leads to addiction. In case you don't know it yet, addiction is real, and there's nothing pretty about it. Maybe these numbers can paint a better picture:
- About 23 million Americans suffer from drug addiction; 4 million are addicted to drugs that are not alcohol
- Over 1.8 million Americans are admitted to addiction treatment facilities each year
- Addicts have 14 times greater risk of committing suicide
Not really a good picture, is it? But wait, don't flash those nootropic pills down the toilet just yet. Read on and learn more about the relation between nootropics and addiction.
It is really important that you understand what addiction is. The last thing you want is to think you are a nootropics addict when you are not, or even worse to think you are not one when in fact you are.
Addiction is a condition where you are physically or psychologically dependent on a substance and can't stop using it without experiencing very adverse effects. It's a highly complex process that involves pleasure, craving, and loss of control. But what you need to know is that your brain processes all types of pleasures in the same way and whenever you satisfy that pleasure, it releases dopamine (a reward hormone) in large quantities. Got it? Great!
Now, back to the topic at hand – nootropics. If (note the use of ‘if') nootropics are addictive it means that after trying, or using them, you will have an insatiable need to take more of them. These smart drugs have been proven to increase cognitive functions, including memory, focus, mood and concentration. They make you feel good and preform better.
As with anything that enhances performance, you will want to continue to take them, but does that mean they're addictive?
Are Nootropics Addictive?
The simple and straightforward answer is no. Here are the reasons why:
#1: They are mere stimulants
Most nootropics are just stimulants. To make it even more relatable think of caffeine – the primary compound found in coffee. That too is a stimulant and so is the same as a nootropic. The drugs and supplements work in the same way that caffeine does.
Check out the difference between the two most well known nootropics: Modafinil and Adderall.
They increase the supply of neurochemicals and oxygen to the brain. That tends to enhance concentration, focus, memory and cognitive performance in general. That is why if you take a nootropic for a long time you might need a constant supply to stay sharp, alert and awake for long. But it is pretty difficult to be addicted. You can quit anytime (although with some effort).
The primary ingredients for most nootropics are just vitamins. It should not come as a surprise that the good brands are non-toxic and not associated with adverse side effects. Most importantly, vitamins are not addictive, which means that nootropics are also not addictive.
You should be very careful with the brand you choose though, because some manufacturers add controversial ingredients (like piracetam – a prescription drug that is regulated in a number of countries) in an effort to increase efficiency. Such ingredients are the ones that can make the nootropic unhealthy and addictive.
#3: They work on mood
Probably the main reason why some people think that nootropics are addictive is because they really affect your mood. Some people find it very hard to balance their mood without popping a pill. That forces them to get hooked on the drugs just to stay stable. When it comes to mood enhancement, the culprit ingredient is Sulbutiamine.
The vitamin B derivative affects dopamine much more than other ingredients and the reward feeling that it brings is what sends users for more of the nootropic. That is why some experts believe that it is not the nootropic itself that brings about the ‘addiction' but rather this one component – Sulbutiamine. The trick around this potential problem is to use the recommended dosage strictly.
#4: They are used in medical treatments
Nootropics are safe medicines for treating narcolepsy and symptoms of ADHD and Alzheimer's disease. Surely doctors wouldn't administer a drug that can turn you into a junkie, would they?
Now you have an answer. Nootropics are not addictive. In fact, they are not dangerous in any way because they are non-toxic and don't come with adverse side effects. That said, you shouldn't abuse the drug because it affects your dopamine levels, which can be difficult to go without. So, stick to the right dosage and stay smart.