We live in a time of constant innovation. In a few short decades, we’ve gone from dial-up internet to carrying a small computer in our pockets. However, this innovation hasn’t been limited to our technology.
One newer concept in medicine is the use of nootropics. Nootropics, which are also known as “smart drugs,” are supplements or drugs that are meant to enhance your performance – usually cognitively – in a variety of ways.
How far do these nootropics go, though? Of course, they can help you in your daily life but what about when you put them up against a condition. For example, could nootropics help someone who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome?
What Is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Before we get into how nootropics can help Asperger Syndrome, it’s important to understand what Asperger Syndrome is. In the most basic definition, Asperger Syndrome is a subset of autism spectrum disorder.
When it comes to the autism spectrum, Asperger Syndrome is considered a more “high functioning” end of the spectrum. It is considered such because while it holds many of the difficulties of placing elsewhere on the autism spectrum, it doesn’t show symptoms such as significant developmental delays or difficulties with language. On the contrary, some children with Asperger Syndrome might seem ahead of the curve when you look at their vocabulary alone.
That isn’t to say that Asperger Syndrome doesn’t come without its difficulties. There are multiple symptoms of Asperger Syndrome including the ones listed below.
- Difficulty in social interactions – such as limited or inappropriate responses
- Monotonous and/or repetitive speech patterns
- Difficulty understanding emotion or sarcasm
- Doesn’t participate in the conversation or avoids eye contact
- Conversations that they dominate/are one-sided
- The tendency to discuss self
- The difficulty with non-verbal cues and communication
- Hyperfocus/”obsession” with a particular subject or topic
- “Awkward” movements and/or mannerisms
Can Nootropics Help?
So, now that you know exactly what Asperger Syndrome entail, that brings us to the main question of this article – can nootropics help with Asperger Syndrome?
Well, first, it should be noted that medication isn’t usually the first line of defense when it comes to this type of autism. This is because the main problems with Asperger Syndrome are in social relations rather than the developmental and behavioral problems associated with other forms of autism.
As such, most Asperger Syndrome treatments lean heavily on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is because during CBT sessions, a therapist can work with the individual to help them to learn social and adaptive skills. For this reason, group therapy is also often employed.
However, in cases in which someone with Asperger Syndrome does suffer from ADHD, hyperactivity, depression, or anxiety – all related problems – medications such as SSRIs, antipsychotics, and stimulants.
So, in those cases, could nootropics take their place? First of all, it’s important to note that if you are going to try any sort of new medication to treat your symptoms, you should discuss it with your doctor.
When it comes to nootropics, though, there might be some hope. However, it should be noted that there is no nootropic that is perfect for “treating” Asperger Syndrome. Instead, you can use nootropics to help treat related problems and symptoms to the diagnosis. Below, we will look at a couple common nootropics chosen for these purposes.
If you have Asperger Syndrome and struggle in social situations, this can naturally lead to some anxiety. However, there are a few nootropics that are great for helping reduce anxiety in social situations.
Phenibut is similar to the drug class of benzodiazepines, which are frequently utilized in moments of high anxiety such as during anxiety or panic attacks. The difference, scientifically speaking, is that benzodiazepines bind the GABA (A) receptors while phenibut binds GABA (B) receptors.
In simpler terms, though, phenibut can bring the relaxed state of benzodiazepines without the sedative effects.
Another popular choice is l-theanine. This nootropic is favored not only because it can be used to relieve anxiety and tension in the body but because it does so with only mild side effects, so it doesn’t otherwise impair daily life.
It works by increasing several “feel good” chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. This is particularly good for Asperger Syndrome because it is particularly favored for its treatment of social anxiety.
This is a good moment, though, to point out that not all nootropics are infallible. What works for one person might not work for you. So, if you find that l-theanine doesn’t have an effect on you, simply move on to try something else.
Focus and Concentration
One of the more main facets of Asperger Syndrome is the fact that the individual tends to hyperfocus on certain subjects. However, this can make focusing on subjects outside of this field rather difficult for them. In fact, most children that place anywhere on the autism spectrum have at least some trouble with concentration. Luckily, there is a selection of nootropics available to help with focus and concentration. For in-depth reviews of the best nootropics on the market, check Nootropic Underground website.
One of the most common choices for focus and concentration is modafinil. This nootropic works as a stimulant – as do many medications that treat disorders that affect focus such as ADHD. This means that modafinil primarily interacts with adrenergic functioning as well as dopaminergic.
On the note of it being used as a stimulant, modafinil has an advantage. Where a traditional medication such as Adderall has a risk of addiction, the risk of addiction with modafinil is much lower. However, this does not mean its use should be abused or overdone.
It should be noted that while we looked at l-theanine for anxiety management earlier, it also holds promise as a focus enhancer. This makes it a great choice for those who want to try a single nootropic for multiple symptoms instead of trying a full stack.
Thomas Matthys a former world-class track & field athlete and the founder of Swol Headquarters. He graduated from the University of Fordham with a Master’s degree in Science. Matthys is a certified sports nutritionist and personal coach of several professional athletes. Matthys has been involved in various clinical studies within Track & Field including one on the factors associated with muscle recovery and HIIT.