One in ten UK students admit to having taken study drugs such as Modafinil and Noopept, equating to around three students per class based on an average of 30 students, according to new research unveiled by The Student Room. This is a number that is set to rise with a quarter of current UK students saying they would consider taking them in the future.

Students are feeling the pressure and turning to so called ‘smart drugs’ to boost their grades, with 80 percent of ‘using’ students reporting they enhance energy and concentration levels. The drugs supposedly increase focus, motivation and decision-making and are usually used to treat disorders like ADHD and narcolepsy. Negative side effects reported include feeling anxious and jittery, acting out of character, severe migraines, mood swings, loss of appetite, addiction and insomnia.  One student said “using Modafinil I noticed that I studied better but I felt zoned out of life generally”.

The research also found that most students keep the drug taking a secret from their parents, and just a third of students taking study drugs have told their parents about them. GCSE students face up to 20 exams over a two month period with a lot riding on their exams and they are feeling the pressure.

Jack Wallington, community director at The Student Room says “It is a shock to find one in every ten students in the UK have used study drugs and of deep concern that up to 25% are considering taking them. Increased academic pressure is clearly resulting in students gambling with their health to pass their exams.

If you are a student sitting exams now, our advice would be: please do not take study drugs. They often have the reverse effect to what you are expecting and in some cases have worse side effects, like sleeplessness, loss of focus and increased anxiety.

Instead, speak to your lecturers, teachers or parents to explain that you feel things may be getting on top of you – they will want to help you. In addition, I advise some practical steps like taking a breather, chunking up your revision into smaller 5 minute bursts and, importantly, completing past papers. Of course, you can also speak to other students like you on The Student Room in the Study Help revision forums and talk about exam stress in our Health forums.”

Image via Flickr.

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