Lifestyle: The Pill Experiment

Somewhere down the line a thought occurs to me that I’m turning into a human lab rat. Under the guise of
well-intentioned journalism, of course, but there’s still the persistent feeling of some unknown transformation taking place.

Or maybe not, but I suppose that’s also part of the point.

The pills I’ve been ingesting twice-daily since the beginning of the month are called Addium. Kind of like Adderall but, you know, not a controlled substance. It’s why sales have skyrocketed for these supplements (known as nootropics) that purport to boost the brain’s ability–because they’re not regulated by the FDA. There’s little incentive for pharmaceutical companies to test them, so instead a host of DIY science experimenters have taken to forums like Longecity and Reddit to log their own personal experiences.

I’ve joined the ranks of these nootropic truth seekers, for better or for worse. Would I really experience a mind-stretching lucidity akin to Bradley Cooper’s character in Limitless? Or perhaps I’d succumb to an onslaught of scathing side effects

Then again, maybe nothing would happen at all.

The nature of nootropic effects is subtle and entirely cumulative, which makes it difficult to assess how effective they really are. An Addium user won’t experience the heady rush of Adderall or modafinil–the wakefulness drug administered to pilots in the Air Force before particularly long journeys.

Still, there must be something, something to all of the press and sea of positive user reviews…

To ensure the experiment remained un-muddled by other energy-inducing stimuli, I eliminated caffeine entirely from my daily routine. It’s worth noting here that caffeine withdrawal is a very real thing, and for those passionate about their morning cup, it’s damn well a force to be reckoned with. I’ve been drinking coffee close to every day for eight years now, so let’s just say that old habits die hard. Or rather, they don’t die at all, but rather grumpily toss and turn at your insides and dogged tiredness until you’d rather submit yourself to a week’s worth of post-espresso crashes than continue pushing on without a cup in hand.

In the name of science, I fought the temptations and gave Addium my full concentration. With some hesitation, I swallowed one of the monstrously sized orange-and-white capsules and waited the recommended half hour for results.

The feelings that began to flood through my body an hour later were hardly what I was expecting…

Stay tuned for the results of Zach’s pill experiment in the next installment of Life & Times.

Feature photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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