Neuroenhancers: Risks and Side Effects

This article is about the dangers of so-called neurenhancers. The idea is tempting: take a tablet. And then have a brain that performs day and night, delivering brilliant ideas and supreme creativity around the clock.

But that’s not how the brain works.

Neuroenhancers: risks and side effects. Why you should not try to make your brain more powerful artificially.

You’ve probably heard of people taking drugs to improve their brain performance. This process is called neuroenhancement.

What many don’t know: This type of drug use comes with risks and side effects.

In this article, I list some commonly known and scientifically proven dangers of pharmaceutical neuroenhancement.

We’ll also take a look at the side effects of some common neuroenhancers, such as addiction, sleep disorders, and mental disorders. So before you try to artificially “boost” or “tune” your brain, read this article.

What are neuroenhancers?

Neuroenhancers are medications that people take to improve their cognitive performance. The most common type of neuroenhancer is a stimulant that increases attention and alertness. Other types of neuroenhancers include nootropics, which improve memory and learning ability, and mood elevators, which relieve anxiety and depression

Neuroenhancers work by modulating neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that pass messages between neurons. By modulating these chemicals, neuroenhancers can change the way the brain works.

But: This isn’t healthy at all. Why not?

Neuroenhancers have a number of risks and side effects.

The most common side effect of neuroenhancers is addiction. When people take neuroenhancers, they can feel a “rush” of energy, mental clarity, and productivity. This can be addictive, and people who take neuroenhancers can quickly become dependent on them

How do neuroenhancers work?

The most common type of neuroenhancer is a stimulant. Stimulants increase the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and norepinephrine. This increases alertness and attention

Nootropics work by modulating acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for learning and memory.

Mood elevators work by modulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.

What are the major risks of neuroenhancers?

One of the biggest risks of taking neuroenhancers is the risk of developing an addiction. Because these drugs change brain chemistry, they can become addictive. People who take neuroenhancers can become dependent on them. At some point, they find it difficult to stop taking them.

Another danger is psychological dependence.
Once a person has had the experience of being able to concentrate on a task late into the night, the temptation to repeat this effect is great.

The situation may arise where one thinks that by taking pills he will be more efficient, save time and become better. Even though this is a misconception, the temptation exists.

Other risks of neuroenhancers

Among the most common side effects are insomnia, anxiety, and irritability. These side effects are caused by increased activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Neuroenhancers can also cause long-term changes in brain chemistry. These changes can lead to mental disorders such as psychosis and mania.

So before you try to artificially “boost” or “tune” your brain, you should know the risks and side effects of chemical neuroenhancers.

The brain is a highly complex system. It is not possible to permanently alter cognitive performance in a positive way with drugs. These drugs come with risks that far outweigh the potential benefits.

Summary of risks and side effects of neuroenhancers

To summarize:

  • It’s tempting to boost brain power with medications, but:
    It comes with risks and side effects that you should be aware of.
    The bottom line is that your brain cannot be permanently improved by artificial means – so don’t put your health at risk by trying this.

Related article Pharmazeuthische Zeitung 2012: Neuro-Enhancement – “Doping for the Brain.”

3 Groups of psychoactive substances used as neuroenhancers.

Non-prescription substances or OTC drugs:

z. e.g., coffee/caffeine tablets (Coffeinum®)/energy drinks containing caffeine, ginkgo biloba (Tebonin®).

Prescription drugs:

z. E.g., methylphenidate (Ritalin®), dexamfetamine (Attentin®), modafinil (Vigil®), antidementives, antidepressants.

Illegal substances:

z. e.g. amphetamines (speed, ecstasy, crystal meth)

Johannes Faupel: Author

Johannes Faupel: Author “Mind Rooms”


Johannes Faupel – Frankfurt am Main, Germany