What Are Cognitive Enhancers?

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What Are Cognitive Enhancers?

Treating drug addictions is a long, hard road. When finding something to aid the process, though, it’s crucial that it be safe and worth your time. Unfortunately, not everything offered is. So, what’s the case when it comes to cognitive enhancers? Can they help you during your treatment?

What Are Cognitive Enhancers?

Cognitive enhancers – also known as “nootropics” – are used for their cognitive benefits such as increased mental alertness, improved memory, and improved concentration, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia (ADF). These cognitive enhancers sometimes also improve physical factors such as energy levels.

This isn’t to say that every cognitive enhancer is the same, though. On the contrary, there are a number of differences from one nootropic to the next.

Some of these are pharmaceutical drugs that were originally designed for a distinct purpose of treating a disorder such as narcolepsy. These “smart drugs” have since been discovered to promote wakefulness in the average individual as well.

How Do Cognitive Enhancers Work?

This, once again, varies slightly from nootropic to nootropic. After all, if two nootropics have even slightly different effects, it’s likely that they react to and within the body differently.

To generalize, the exact workings of many nootropics aren’t quite known. Some researchers within the ADF believe that some of these cognitive enhancers work by reacting to a variety of systems within the body.

Other nootropics are suggested to work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. For instance, some cognitive enhancers increase neurotransmitters such as dopamine to provide effects such as increased motivation.

Where Did Cognitive Enhancers Come From?

As noted earlier, many cognitive enhancers didn’t start with the intended use of helping healthy individuals increase cognitive performance. Rather, they were developed to treat specific disorders.

For instance, donepezil is employed in use for Alzheimer’s disease thanks to its properties as an aid in episodic memory and attention. Another example would be methylphenidate which can be used to help individuals with ADHD as it helps response inhibition and attention. Other popular cognitive enhancers have been used to help treat cognitive deficits of schizophrenia that aren’t addressed by the antipsychotics that are used to treat positive and negative symptoms of the disorder.

Are These Cognitive Enhancers Safe?

Cognitive enhancers are relatively safe to use. However, just like any other substance or medication that you intake to your body, you have to use these enhancers safely. This means using the appropriate dosages, paying attention to signs that your does or doesn’t body tolerates the use of an enhancer, and preferably consulting a professional before starting use.

It’s also wise to research any cognitive enhancer that you are going to start. This includes researching the brands that you are using as well.

The biggest concern with cognitive enhancers is that they aren’t held to the same accord that pharmaceutical drugs are. Rather, they are considered supplements. In other words, while pharmaceuticals are unsafe until proven safe, the opposite holds true for nootropics which, like supplements, are considered safe until proven otherwise. This also means that cognitive enhancers are typically sold over-the-counter and can be bought online.

Don’t let this concern you too much, however. Reliable cognitive enhancers that are sold by most companies are backed by intensive research. Most companies won’t sell a nootropic that hasn’t been proven safe and effective.

Are Their Side Effects?

Just like anything else, cognitive enhancers can have side effects. This is why it was noted earlier that you should pay attention to how your body tolerates the specific enhancer that you are using.

The specific side effects differ from cognitive enhancer to cognitive enhancer. Some of the most common side effects include anxiety, headaches, or insomnia. If these occur, try talking to a professional about perhaps using less of a certain cognitive enhancer or trying a different one altogether.

Can Cognitive Enhancers Treat Addiction?

Like anything else used in aiding addiction recovery, taking a cognitive enhancer isn’t going to simply erase the problem. It can, however, help you indirectly by helping you take steps to do things that aid in your recovery. We’ll expand more on this idea by moving forward.


One of the biggest factors on the road to recovery is staying motivated even through the hard days. There are certain cognitive enhancers that can help with this.

Take Modafinil, for example. It has been proven in helping individuals stay motivated as well as reducing impulse response. This means that it helps to reduce split-second regrettable decisions as well.


Another thing that many people find helps them through their recovery is taking some time to exercise. Cognitive enhancers such as Rhodiola rosea – an herbal option – can also give users a boost of energy to get them going.


Addiction recovery is a difficult time to go through. This, of course, can leave you feeling down. Cognitive enhancers such as L-tyrosine and aniracetam can be used to give you a mood boost during difficult times.

A Final Warning

Cognitive enhancers can be a great tool in helping your recovery. However, it is absolutely crucial to note that they must be used correctly and carefully. It goes without saying that if you abuse these enhancers on your road to recovery, you are moving backward rather than forwards.

It was noted earlier but it’s worth noting again that while many of these cognitive enhancers can be easily purchased online, it’s best to use them under the care of a professional rather than trying to figure them out on your own.