Pimp my brain: A week on smart drugs

One week on smart drugs. Credit: David Salas Hidalgo
One week on smart drugs.
Credit: David Salas Hidalgo

Editor’s Note: The following piece is a first-hand account by Metro World News reporter Kieron Monks.

It’s an open secret that the great brains of Silicon Valley have a little helper to stay sharp when the pressure mounts and the body screams for rest. The same assistant has come to serve students, teachers, bankers and fighter pilots. So although they are only available through prescription in the U.K., it was time for us to test out “smart drugs,” also known as nootropics, or steroids for the brain.

I settled early on Modafinil, the most popular cognitive enhancement solution according to the best-qualified online forums, and not linked to horrific side effects. I could expect greater focus, memory and wakefulness, the reviews said, fitting for a substance used to treat narcolepsy. The transaction was smooth and professional, a blister pack of 10 chunky white pills dropping through the letterbox three days after payment. My supplier wished me a pleasant experience and advised me to avoid mixing the drug with alcohol and grapefruit juice.

I had expected to wait for the effect but it arrived suddenly. Within 15 minutes of the first dose, my mind was stable and serene, following lines of thought without interruption. I was able to stay unusually focused through a phone interview and writing an article, which looked a little more coherent and authoritative than normal, as if a wiser and more serious older brother had written it.

To keep the feeling pure, I skipped my regular coffees, concerned that I might become too hyper. I skipped most everything else that first day, including lunch that I had no appetite for, as I buried myself in mental exercises and research, determined to take advantage of my enhanced capacity.

The first day I stayed in the office over an hour later than normal, and sailed off toward the subway at the end of the day still fresh as an April flower. Through the journey home, I inhabited a kind of zen bubble, despite the shrieking, jabbing and constant delays that would normally leave me an anxious wreck.

The alertness refused to leave, and my appetite would not come back. Everything seemed fascinating, with a trace of euphoria that recalled less innocent experiments. I could ride a stationary bike for an hour and remain entertained. A large, academic book of early 18th century paintings captured my attention completely. When sleep came after 2 a.m., it was accompanied by strange dreams featuring sea snakes.

Perhaps the best effect was waking up without the normal sense of injustice that comes with morning and the imperative to be leaving the bed. I positively sprung from the mattress and was adjusted to the day even before swallowing another 200mg, which sent me skipping off to the train. On a cold January morning, I was warm inside a thin jacket, overheated even, and pulses of energy would sporadically buzz through me, with the elbows particularly active.

Over the week, the effect dropped off gradually, so that my capacity for food and coffee returned. My mental state remained even, too even at times, as I found myself crossing busy roads at a leisurely pace. Ideas didn’t come to me more easily, but I was better able to think them through, and to concentrate until their conclusion.

By the end of the week, friends were tired of my becalmed state — protesting I listened too carefully — and wanted the more haphazard version back. It was a relief and a pleasure to be able to sleep properly again. But even after stopping the drugs, some of the thought discipline remains, and I’m grateful for it.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.

Comments

2

  1. my co-worker’s aunt makes $70 hourly on the computer. She has been without a job for seven months but last month her paycheck was $19034 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site

    w­w­w­.­j­o­b­s­6­1­.­c­o­m

  2. I dont believe that pills are the cure for ADD ADHD, any of that. Adderall was first prescribed as a weight loss “miracle” drug. We might as well all take acid if we want to enhance our “brain power”. Other than serious disorders and diseases. Out minds only allow us to learn or comprehend so much at one time. IF we put in effort without drugs then we could accomplish more. I believe that these brain power drugs are a scheme to make more money and more scare amongst our society.