The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Dexamphetamine as a Nootropic

As part of our deep dive into nootropics drugs, let’s take a closer look at Dex or Dexamphetamine.

Dexamphetamine is a prescription medication that is often used for recreational purposes, mainly as a nootropic or 'smart drug' to get you through a long work day or get a uni assignment finished in time.

In these situations, using repurposed pharma drugs for recreational purposes to cope and maintain mental concentration or alertness can be tempting.

But is it a good idea? Let’s have a look at the good, the bad and the downright, ugly of using Dexamphetamine as nootropics for recreational use.

Dexamphetamine: The Good

Is there such a thing? You decide.

We’re discussing here the use of Dex outside (for the most part) its intended use as a prescription drug used to treat ADHD.  

Well, no less than the US Air Force pilots use Dexamphetamine as “go pills” to remain focused and alert.  That’s a pretty resounding endorsement. Thing is though, keep in mind that the US Air Force presumably does this under strict medical supervision which may not usually be the case for us ‘civies’ looking to pep up our performance.

Dexamphetamine has also taken to boost athletic performance and cognitive performance - nootropics, and to turn up the heat in the bedroom and as an euphoriant. No surprises here as Dex is a stimulant.

All good so far so let’s look at the dark side.

Dexamphetamine: The Bad

Side effects, side effects, side effects.

Dexamphetamine has a long list of potential side effects.

Side effects may include:

This list is just from a pamphlet released by the Victorian Government. Google Dexamphetamine and I received almost 73,000 results.

And the warnings are extensive. What struck me was the sheer number of warnings - particularly around interactions with other drugs and the potential impact if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. And that’s with the drug prescribed in typically lower dose format under medical supervision.

Imagine going it alone and self prescribing for recreational use where overdosing is a huge risk?

In a previous blog, I wrote of a uni student friend and his fight to come off ADHD drugs. He went onto talk of the struggles that his friends are experiencing in trying to kick the habit.

Online forums are filled with similar horror stories.

Dexamphetamine: The Ugly

Okay, so we have covered some of the side effects of Dexamphetamine use but let’s look at the really really ugly stuff.

First off, for me it’s the deadly side effect - serotonin syndrome. The  symptoms of serotonin syndrome can range from mild, such as anxiety and nausea right through to respiratory failure. Scary.

Dexamphetamine is an amphetamine and guess what? Amphetamines are a drug of abuse. Frequent overuse can lead to addiction. Recreational use can lead to overuse, particularly as the more that’s consumed, the greater the likelihood you are to develop a drug tolerance.  

Users could be trapped in a downward spiral. You need more to feel the impact, so ever greater amounts are consumed - and so on and so on. This can lead to addiction.   

There are no effective drugs available to help kick the addiction.

When I was an undergrad student, I worked at Long Bay jail in Sydney as a driver over the Christmas holidays and the sight of wire cages and the haunted faces of the drug addicts detoxing is as scary today as it was when I saw them over 20 years ago. No thank you.

Dexamphetamine wrap up

So there you have it. A quick look at the good, the bad and the truly ugly of recreational Dexamphetamine use. I feel that the bad and the ugly substantially outweighs any recreational benefit that may be obtained in using Dexamphetamine.

When I looked at Dex as a nootropic - what struck me was how short-term and harmful the drug is.

Plant-based supplements may not have the immediate effect that we sometimes crave - but naturally derived supplements are like dieting or exercise.

In my humble opinion, a little taken often goes a long way to creating sustainable improvements.

And when I think of pharma drugs that are being used for recreational purposes, such as a nootropics drug and the choices available, I can’t help but think of Albert Einstein's quote: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”


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