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Neuroenhancers—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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What if you were told that you could take a pill that would increase your productivity and help you remember more? Sound too good to be true? Well, some claim it can be done with neuroenhancers.

Neuroenhancers, like Adderall, Ritalin and Provigil, are medications prescribed to treat disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, many people, especially college students, have been taking these neuroenhancers to improve their grades. Neuroenhancers are highly debated: in their effects, how they are obtained and whether they give an unfair advantage.

What are neuroenhancers?

Adderall is one type of neuroenhancer that has been used for off-label purposes. According to Drugs.com, Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.” Off-label users have obtained Adderall through doctor shopping, friends and online pharmacies.

What are the benefits?

Many choose to use neuroenhancers to stay awake, get work done and balance everything in their hectic lives. In an excellent article that brought the neuroenhancer debate to the forefront, Margaret Talbot of The New Yorker interviewed students, professors and professional why they take neuroenhancers. During her reporting, Talbot reveals how easy neuroenhancers are to obtain on the internet, and the allure that draws in stressed out college students. The users interviewed claimed that the neuroenhancers increased their learning abilities, and allowed them to work for hours on end without being exhausted.

Do they work?

In Talbot's article, she interviews many neuroscientists and psychologists who study the neurological effects of neuroenhancers. As one interviewed user pointed out, neuroenhancers do not make your smarter—but they help you retain more information. In one study, researchers found that participants who used neuroenhancers had an improvement in retention.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Margaret Talbot is completely UNcredible. Her boredatpenn.com is a bogus, non existant anonymously owned website proxy hidden by godaddy which BTW, does not work AT ALL.

It would be nice and MORE credible if editors requested PROOF OF LIFE from some of these supposed referring websites, before they are submitted.

April 3, 2011 - 3:40pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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