The Use of Cognitive Enhancers Among University Students: Reasons and Risks

1. Introduction:

Cognitive enhancers are drugs, enhancements, nutraceuticals and useful foods; which are supposed to advance cerebral functions such as cognition and attentiveness. Currently, the non-medical use of cognitive enhancers is highly prevalent among university students in the United States (US) (Anagnostaras & Whitehouse, 2012). The use of these substances has also been on the rise in other countries such as Australia and Canada (Bell, 2016). A survey conducted at Louisiana State University (LSU) found that almost a quarter of the respondents had used a cognitive enhancer during their academic career (Smith & Farah, 2011).

The most commonly used cognitive enhancers are stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. These medications are usually prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but they are also used by people without ADHD for cognitive enhancement (Dreger & Farah, 2009). Some other popular cognitive enhancers include certain smart drugs like modafinil and nootropics like piracetam. Many people use these substances to improve their focus and concentration, as well as memory and other cognitive functions (Anagnostaras & Whitehouse, 2012).

There are several factors that can influence a person’s decision to use cognitive enhancers. Some of these factors include academic pressure, the desire to do better than one’s peers, and the view that substance use is necessary to succeed in today’s world (Benson & Kortenkamp, 2017). In addition, many people believe that using these substances is not cheating because they are available without a prescription and they are not banned by most universities (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

Despite the widespread use of cognitive enhancers among university students, there is still much we do not know about their long-term effects. However, there is some evidence to suggest that these substances can have harmful side effects, especially when used in high doses or for extended periods of time (Smith & Farah, 2011). For example, Adderall can cause insomnia, anxiety and cardiovascular problems; while Ritalin can lead to psychosis and addiction (Dreger & Farah, 2009). There is also a risk of serious harm if these drugs are taken in combination with other substances such as alcohol or opioids (Anagnostaras & Whitehouse, 2012).

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of cognitive enhancers among university students. In particular, we will discuss the reasons why students use these substances and the potential risks involved. We will also consider the ethical implications of using cognitive enhancers and whether or not they constitute cheating.

2. Use of cognitive enhancers among students:

As mentioned above, the use of cognitive enhancers is highly prevalent among university students in the United States. A survey conducted at LSU found that 23% of respondents had used a cognitive enhancer during their academic career (Smith & Farah, 2011). This is a significant increase from previous years; for example, a survey conducted in 2006 found that only 5% of college students had used a cognitive enhancer in the past year (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

There are several reasons why students might choose to use cognitive enhancers. One reason is academic pressure; many students feel immense pressure to succeed in their studies and they believe that using these substances will give them an advantage (Benson & Kortenkamp, 2017). In addition, the view that substance use is necessary to succeed in today’s world is also a factor influencing the use of cognitive enhancers (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

Another reason why students might use cognitive enhancers is the desire to do better than their peers. Many students feel like they need to use these substances in order to keep up with the competition (Benson & Kortenkamp, 2017). This is especially true in fields such as medicine and law, where the competition is extremely high (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

Many students also believe that using cognitive enhancers is not cheating because they are available without a prescription and they are not banned by most universities (Dreger & Farah, 2009). In addition, some students believe that these substances can help them overcome ADHD, which is a legitimate medical condition (Benson & Kortenkamp, 2017).

3. Ritalin and Adderall:

As mentioned above, the most commonly used cognitive enhancers are stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. These medications are usually prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but they are also used by people without ADHD for cognitive enhancement (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness and reduces fatigue (Dreger & Farah, 2009). It is also used to treat narcolepsy and has been shown to improve task performance in people with ADHD (Smith & Farah, 2011). However, Adderall can also have harmful side effects; for example, it can cause insomnia, anxiety and cardiovascular problems (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

Ritalin is another popular stimulant that is used to treat ADHD. It has similar effects to Adderall; however, it has also been linked to psychosis and addiction (Dreger & Farah, 2009). In addition, Ritalin can also cause side effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Smith & Farah, 2011).

4. Factors influencing the use of cognitive enhancers:

There are several factors that can influence a person’s decision to use cognitive enhancers. Some of these factors include academic pressure, the desire to do better than one’s peers and the view that substance use is necessary to succeed in today’s world (Benson & Kortenkamp, 2017). In addition, many people believe that using these substances is not cheating because they are available without a prescription and they are not banned by most universities (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

Another factor that can influence the use of cognitive enhancers is social pressure. Many students feel like they need to use these substances in order to fit in with their peers or be seen as successful (Benson & Kortenkamp, 2017). This pressure can come from friends, family or even teachers and professors (Dreger & Farah, 2009).

5. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the use of cognitive

FAQ

Cognitive enhancement drugs are substances that can improve cognitive function, including memory, focus, and motivation.

They work by increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain or by modulating receptors for these chemicals.

University students use them to improve their academic performance or to offset the effects of sleep deprivation.

There are risks associated with their use, including addiction and adverse side effects.