Nootropic Thunder

Seems like yesterday I was working with a client who suffered from an addiction to Adderal. He was prescribed the stimulant, many years before we met, to help him focus in school. Now out of school with a wife and kid along with a mortgage, car payments, credit card bills and other financial obligations, he was still using. You see, he’d built up a reliance on it and “couldn’t function without it” or get “anything of value done” because the drug was his “edge.”

His wife had had enough, initiated the counseling and was ready to leave if he didn’t change. Poor bastard didn’t have a fighting chance. That was about 10 years ago and that client is one of literally hundreds of thousands of people who are addicted to psychostimulants.

Had a trader ask about cognitive enhancers the other day and thought I’d write this post. I’d mentioned to her that the trend these days is nootropics or so called smart drugs. All the cool kids use Modafinil, a drug originally designed for narcolepsy, to gain their cognitive edge and stay awake all day. It’s like civilized crystal meth only better. The attraction is that the jitters, euphoria and eventual crash that accompany caffeine and/or amphetamines are non-existent. Get focused with no withdrawals!

Does it work? Just go to a nearby college campus and ask 10 random students and you’ll more than likely get a few yeses. Athletes use it, world travelers use it, students use it, and as long as there’s a market for it, off label of course, Cephalon ($CEPH) will continue to make it. In fact, the follow-up drug Armodafinil is available as well.

Part of the big draw is that the boost in productivity is accomplished without affecting normal sleep patterns. In other words, if I popped a few Modafinil and wrote code for two days straight I could get back to a normal sleep cycle with only 8 hours. As with any drug there’s good and bad and those that push and those that appose. I’ve personally never used any cognitive enhancers other than some research I did a while back on resveratrol.

My take on the whole competitive edge offered by nootropics (or any cognitive enhancer) is that I can do without and suggest others do the same. The mind is a powerful tool that is highly underutilized by many (we are a lazy society, plain and simple). As an example, I haven’t set an alarm clock in years and can literally tell myself when I want to wake up and I am up within 15 minutes of that time the next day. Never fails.

We are all adults here so if you don’t mind a little orofacial dyskinesia in exchange for a few more hours of functioning in a day then be my guest. Success in life takes discipline and addiction to anything, be it trading, television, chocolate, cigarettes, or whiskey shows a lack of discipline. How many failed diets or exercise routines have you experienced? Perhaps the inability to stick to a trading plan is more in-line? I doubt a drug that helps you stay cognitively focused and mentally alert will help in those areas. I’d love to hear from you if you have feedback or experience with any cognitive enhancer.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. TraderMD

    IMHO people shouldn’t take controlled substances such as the ones you’ve described above. It’s possible for them to have side effects including a wide variety of emotional changes (depression, irritability, anger, possibly make you more impulsive, increased anxiety, etc) or other more physical side effects (tremors, increased heart rate, sweating, GI irritation, etc). Typically if someone truly has ADHD it’ll be more than evident to them in a number of settings.

    1. Attitrade

      Totally agree. However, it seems most that I’ve talked to who use them have that “it will never happen to me” belief. And their thinking about becoming addicted is in the same vein.

  2. oblomov23

    I think it’s unfair to put all nootropics in the same category as amphetamines (which are schedule II drugs) and Provigil/Nuvigil (schedule IV). Although I personally believe that adults should be free to self-medicate with their drugs of choice, the current US drug laws do not agree: getting these drugs for cognitive enhancement purposes rather than as part of therapy for an indicated condition requires that either the patient lies to the physician, or the physician lies about the diagnosis to the payer & the DEA.

    I take the following nootropic supplements regularly:
    Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC)
    R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA)
    vit B5/6/12 at 2000-3000% of FDA daily required levels

    The effects of these supplements are subtle. I can certainly tell when I have not taken my ALC and R-ALA, but the effects are not dramatic as in the case of an amphetamine. I take these supplements as long-term cognitive enhancers an neuroprotective agents.

    In addition, I take Oxiracetam a few times per week. It’s an expensive supplement. It has a strong, dramatic effect. Its side effects profile is “clean”.

    In regard to using cognitive enhancement for trading, I would stay away from any supplement that acts as a strong dopamine agonist (e.g. modanifil/armodanifil). Increasing the baseline level of dopamine can skew one’s perception of risk/reward tradeoffs. In short, it can make one more likely to take gambles (rather than well-reasoned trades) because the losses don’t feel as bad.

  3. Amphetamine Addiction

    narcotics are becoming very popular among teenagers.they know that these are harmful for our health but still they love to have it

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