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More and more students use Ritalin and Vigil to supposedly improve their performance.
In order to achieve supposedly higher performance before exams, more and more students use medicines such as Ritalin and Vigil. But the drugs can have health consequences that students don't think about. According to the latest investigations, every 100th student is now resorting to the supposed “fit makers”.
The social pressure to perform is also increasing at universities. More and more students are using medication to make themselves supposedly more efficient. Medicines such as Ritalin and Vigil are particularly popular. The first medicine is used for ADHD diseases and the second medicine is actually used for acute sleep disorders. "It happens again and again that students try to get fit with medication for a homework or an exam," explained Claus Normann from the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology in Berlin. In the United States, students have been using drugs to achieve “brain jogging” for years. This supposed wave has now arrived in Germany.
Vigil and Ritalin are prescription drugs. Nevertheless, a real “black market” seems to have developed among the students. Because there is no other way to get the medication. According to a study by the University Medical Center Mainz, at least one percent of the students would have used such drugs before. Of the 1035 schoolchildren surveyed, 1.6 percent said they had used such medicines before. With 512 students, the value was less than one percent. That doesn't sound like much at first, "but we're already startled by these numbers," explains Andreas Franke from the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Mainz. Because numerous students also indicated that they might want to use such funds. Only 10 to 20 percent of those questioned said that they "under no circumstances" take such medication. The rest kept it open, so to speak.
Effects in healthy people still unexplored.
The health risks for healthy people who take such medicines have not yet been researched. Many students hope that Ritalin will improve concentration and performance. But this has not been proven, and Ritalin and Co also cause numerous side effects, even in sick people. To find out, doctors in the neuroenhancement project at the Charité in Berlin want to do new studies. Side effects in healthy people and actual effects are to be researched.
"It is not to be expected that the two drugs will cause structural brain damage in the long term, since many patients have been taking them for a long time," said psychiatrist Dr. Normann. Do the drugs make Ritalin and Vigil physically dependent? "In our clinic, for example, we had never someone who was dependent on one of the remedies, "Noramnn told Die Zeit. But psychological dependency cannot be ruled out." Anyone who thinks that stress can only be managed with the appropriate medication could become psychologically dependent ", warns Normann.
Possible side effects of Ritalin:
The following side effects may occur when taking Ritalin: increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, rapid breathing and increased body temperature, reduced feeling of hunger, abdominal pain, weight loss, facial twitching, muscle twitching, insomnia, euphoria, nervousness, irritability, excitement, psychotic phases and paranoid delusions .
Possible side effects of Vigil:
Vigil is a stimulation medicine and contains the active substance modafinil. E is mainly used to treat narcolepsy. In any case, an increase in performance cannot be achieved with Vigil. On the contrary, if healthy people take the medication, the sleep rhythm may be severely disturbed.
Diet and exercise can make you fit. Instead of resorting to prescription and possibly dangerous medication, schoolchildren and students should eat a sensible and balanced diet. Sport also drives general performance. Under the title "High performance through nutrition" we give useful tips that do not cause side effects and are natural. (sb)