The Best Smart Drugs for Depression
Depression can be an awful thing to suffer through and there are millions of people around the world who do suffer from depression. It affects all areas of your life – your relationships, your work, your social life, your health and your general well-being. People can be depressed for situational reasons (break-ups, moves, general unhappiness with life), but there are many people who suffer from depression when they typically “should” be happy. These people don’t understand why they feel so down when they have the things in life that people strive to attain – good job, people who love them, health. Depression can affect any person of any age and sex and childhood depression is at an all-time high. While we can’t slow down the pace of life without moving off the grid, we can do something to handle our lives a little bit better.
Smart drugs are cognitive enhancers that not only help make you “smarter” so to speak, they help with the other areas of your brain that might not be functioning as it should. People suffering from depression could have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals or they could have faulty mood regulation systems. On top of this, other health issues and medications can trigger defences in the brain to produce too much or too little of the brain chemicals needed to make you happy (or at least even-keel). Even certain anti-anxiety medications can cause other brain chemicals to go awry and cause depression, so while you are fixing one problem, you are just trading it for another, which could also end up a more serious problem.
Biology of the brain
To understand how the brain can control your mood and depression, you need to understand the biology of the brain. Research has shown that depressed people may have a smaller hippocampus than those who are not depressed. This can be the result of stress, which in turn suppresses the production of the nerve cells in the hippocampus. Anti-depressants work to boost these neurotransmitters and allow them to form new connections in the brain. These include selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) like Prozac or Paxil, which serve to raise serotonin levels in the brain. While these drugs have improved depression in a number of people, they aren’t always the only course of action and do have significant side effects. There are other factors at work in the brain that need to be addressed by the drug someone is taking for their depression.
Smart drugs address more than just the serotonin factor and also look at Acetylcholine, Glutamate, GABA and other chemicals in the brain for the answers to depression. As well, they contribute to increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which has the added side effect of making people feel more “well” and can reduce depression just on its own.
Starting with serotonin, a great smart drug that increases its production is called 5-HTP. The chemical by-product of L-tryptophan, it is produced from the seeds of an African plant and used for a number of ailments, including depression. Once it increases the serotonin levels, users report they have better sleep, appetite, and a better sense of well-being. 5-HTP can also be used to treat sleep disorders, anxiety, migraines, obesity, PMS, ADHD and more.
The GABA connection
Low levels of GABA have been implicated in depression, along with a number of ailments. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain and helps to control anxiety, mood and even pain. Taking a GABA supplement has been shown to help people improve their mood, sleep and has been used to treat ADHD and PMS. GABA supplementation alone might not be enough to cure or relieve depression, as it isn’t shown that it can cross the blood-brain barrier, so it can be taken with other GABA-producing smart drugs. These are called GABAergics. Phenibut and Picamilon are both smart drug supplements that are related to GABA. Both produce a calming effect in the user and have anxiolytic effects. Inositol is a member of the vitamin B family and B vitamins are often used for their mood-boosting effects. It also boosts GABA production, and works best synergistically with other nootropic supplements.
Stimulating the brain
Stimulants are often used by medical professionals in treating depressive symptoms in their patients. Stimulants work by increasing the communication between the centres of the brain and by positively affecting the neurotransmitters at work. People feel more positive mental energy than before, along with having increased concentration and focus. Aniracetam supplements are a line of smart drugs that offer a stimulant effect along with mood-boosting properties.
Reversing damage to the brain
Damage to the brain caused by stress, medications and other factors can play a role in depression in some people. Smart drugs that act like a neuro-protectant, like Noopept are often able to reverse that damage and help to keep the neurons in the brain healthy. This has the effect of lowering depressive symptoms and giving increased energy. Noopept can cross the blood-brain barrier, so it is immediately effective at boosting mood. It also increases the neurotransmitter connections within the brain and is looked to be a good long-term solution for depression, rather than a quick fix.
The best course of action when it comes to taking supplements is to speak to a medical professional who has the knowledge to guide you. Rather than just hand you a prescription for a strong drug that you may not need, like or want, find a practitioner who will look beyond traditional medicines and can help to guide you in a more natural course of action. They do have side effects, along with their short and long-term benefits, so it best to get as much information as you can before you make an informed choice to use nootropics.