Note: Nootropics, better known as ‘smart drugs’, enhance the way in which the brain is able to process and apply information by directing all of its efforts towards desired tasks, more can be read about nootropics in Q&A: how clever is it to be messing with ‘smart drugs’?
Inundated by a flood of foreign assignments Johann was tempted by nootropics after discovering a report documenting the rise in American students taking Provigil and intrigued by the description of the capsules being “Viagra for the brain.” Within a short while one he had tracked down and ordered a batch and a week later the package had arrived, the pills were ordinary looking – small and white. Within a few hours of taking his first dose he found himself able to “read a book for six to seven hours at a time without looking up.”
Provigil is a product of the analeptic drug Modafinil and is traditionally used to treat sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy and insomnia. The drug allows the brain to focus the majority of its energy into dealing with the task in front of it, compared with normal, where only a fraction of the brain is dedicated to working through tasks and the rest deals with processing memories and subconscious thoughts. Johann found he had the most productive few weeks of his life, firing out articles that he had longed to write for months in less than a few hours and with an unrelenting passion to write more.
“I inhale books and exhale articles effortlessly”
It wasn’t until the third week that he noticed the side-effect of a severe lack of creativity in his life, “You are running on the imaginative store you built up before Provigil, and whizzing through it efficiently, but you aren’t inventing anything new.” He also noticed his appetite diminishing as his flat filled with uneaten food,”I would feel stuffed half-way through my normal meals, and push the food away unfinished.”
After coming off Provigil he found that his brain returned back to its original slower “stop-start state” and that his imagination recovered once more “my creative impulses came back. I was more spontaneous again.”
Despite the changes he experienced Johann still keeps a box of his ‘seductive temptress’ Provigil in his bathroom cabinet but now only allows himself to take the drug once or twice per month to combat exhaustion on long days.
For another account of nootropics see ‘Smart drugs’: supplementing students