2018-maier.pdf: “Pharmacological cognitive enhancement among non-ADHD individuals—A cross-sectional study in 15 countries”, Larissa J. Maier, Jason A. Ferris, Adam R. Winstock
Cognitive enhancing drugs are claimed to improve cognitive functions such as learning and attention. However, little is known presently about the characteristics of off-prescription cognitive enhancing drug users or their perceived everyday experience with these drugs. As modafinil is the most commonly used off-prescription cognitive enhancing drug, the current study aimed to provide a detailed profile of users and their experiences and perceptions of this drug. To this end, an online survey, targeting cognitive enhancing drug users and students, was advertised on forum sites. Information was obtained regarding demographic data, illicit drug use, psychiatric diagnosis and experience of . Of the 404 respondents, 219 reported taking . Of these the majority were male, American or British, university-educated and currently employed, with a mean age of 27. Overall, was perceived by users as being safe. users reported higher levels of illicit drug use and psychiatric diagnosis than would be expected from population-based data. More frequent reported use was associated with higher numbers of perceived benefits whilst reported frequency of use was not associated with the number of perceived risks. There was also a tentative link between the reported use of and the reported presence of psychiatric disorders, largely depression and anxiety. Respondents who had reported a psychiatric diagnosis declared higher subjective benefits of . This may suggest further beneficial effects of or it may reflect insufficient medical treatment for psychiatric disorders in some people. Overall, the findings of the current study should be beneficial in informing clinicians and legislative bodies about the user profile and how modafinil is perceived.