Some interesting developments are on the horizon in psychopharmacology – the study of drugs that affect our psychological state. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are the culturally (fairly) accepted methods of changing mood and performance. Perhaps soon these will be old hat.
Modafinil is a drug that was originally developed for the treatment of narcoleptics. It has subsequently been tested on helicopter pilots and been found to significantly improve alertness in fatigued pilots.
“Barbara Sahakian, Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge, who tested modafinil in a series of experiments on volunteers found that they showed greater concentration, faster learning and increased mental agility. “It may be the first real smart drug,” she says. “A lot of people will probably take modafinil. I suspect they do already.”
Word is spreading about this and other drugs. Illegal ritalin use to aid concentration is on the rise. Research is breaking through into the uses of ecstacy and psylocibin on depression. How long before the next wave of psychoactive chemicals breaks through onto the mainstream?
Personally I prefer to use natural methods of performance enhancement. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to change my mind when I am no longer young, fit and healthy.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
> From The Independent