Boosting Brain Performance: Coffee out, Ritalin in
Almost one in four students feels overwhelmed by the high-performance requirements at a university. Chores, exams, and working on the side to pay the tuition; students turn to coffee, energy drinks and brain-enhancing drugs hoping to give them more energy and help them focus.
Ritalin is considered as one of the “miracle drugs”. The drug says it can improve impaired attention, distractibility, learning difficulties and lack of attention, which are symptoms many students experience. A tablet of Ritalin keeps one awake and focused for 4-6 hours, eliminating motivational and time issues.
Methylphendidate – Prescription Drug
Ritalin’s active ingredient Methylphendidate, eliminates fatigue, increases physical performance and inhibits warning signs of the body, like fatigue and hunger. Multitasking for a student now isn’t a tedious task. The student manages to put his concentration completely on just one thing.
Ritalin is intended for children 6 years old and above who suffer from attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder so they can concentrate more in school.
Side effects include headache, nervousness, insomnia, loss of appetite, panic attacks, stomach discomfort, cardiovascular complaints and “very rare” sudden cardiac death. Though intended for people with special needs, more and more people still take it for brain enhancement even if it requires a prescription.
Need for Performance Enhancement
It has become a trend among students to use brain-enhancing drugs to help with school requirements.
About 20% of students use performance-enhancing drugs over the course of their life in university. And this number has significantly increased in recent years especially in North America and Europe.
In 2010, a study conducted in the University of Mainz, surveyed 1,500 students. Students included have finished their intermediate diploma and exams. The result showed that students are ready to use brain-enhancing drugs.
80% are willing to use the stimulant if there are no side effects or long-term damage while 4% of participants have used stimulants, at least once, to improve their concentration, attention and alertness.
Cutthroat and Challenging Job Market
Students hope that with Ritalin’s “help” they will be able to get good grades, finish school and be competitive in the job market. Student life is similar to the demands of the job market. Healthy people are inclined to use this medication because companies need employees who are determined, have quick comprehension and have a high tolerance to stress.
About 5% of the roughly 3,000 workers surveyed between the ages of 20 and 50 years confirmed that they had recourse to performance-enhancing or mood-enhancing drugs. 4 out of 10 users even take the medication daily to several times a week.
Are Ritalin Users Really Successful?
The success of Ritalin among student users is unclear as the side effects even when taken long-term. Methylphenidate suppresses thirst, hunger, and causes the user to misjudge his own abilities.
Though it can only be acquired with a prescription, it seems easier to acquire than other prescription drugs. A CEO of a health insurance company warns the concentrated, creative and career-conscious individual, that the desire to be perfect cannot always be met by drugs.