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What I know so far about drugs (codeine, heroin, etc) is, the first time you take them you will feel better, think sharper, and act better, just like a supercharged engine. But as this goes on a regular basis, it will stop being efficient and causes addiction.

So what I can understand of this, is that our brain can function better but for some unknown reason (to me) it doesn't. However its functionality increases for a period of time after you take a dose of these drugs.

Now I have a few questions about this:

  1. If our brain can function faster than normal, then why it demands additional drugs to do so?
  2. Can we inject a controlled dose to brain (not by needle to the brain obviously, I mean pills, tablets, etc) of these drugs to keep the brains functionality at a higher rate?
  3. When a drug actually charges our brain, is it taking any damage? The same way you overclock a CPU and it might cause damage to it over the time.

PS: I'm asking this on Biology instead of Health since I'm talking about brain's behavior about addiction, not just to confirm whether or not i can use drugs on a regular basis.

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    $\begingroup$ What on earth makes you think heroin will supercharge you? Ever looked at a person under influence of heroin? I have. And the last thing that comes to mind is charged. Burnt out gets a lot closer. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jun 24 '17 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause, really, your comments are as good as any answer will ever get on this question :) $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jun 24 '17 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD I suppose I could move them to an answer, though I don't really feel like tracking down citations etc for all of this. I guess I'll do it and let people decide if they want to upvote or not. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 24 '17 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD Take a look at someone who is on a dose of heroin for the first time. And see what happens to them in the first half an hour. Also I like how some people zoom in 6 letters of a 4 paragraphed question, to find something to criticize in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Jack Johansson Jun 24 '17 at 19:40
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the first time you take them you will feel better, think sharper, and act better

You are probably thinking of amphetamines, not opiates. Militaries have used amphetamines for just that purpose for decades, particularly for situations where long periods of attention are necessary. The problems are addiction, adaptation (lessening effects over time), withdrawal, side effects, etc.

Caffeine has very different cellular effects, but is also a stimulant, albeit a much weaker one. People around the globe use caffeine to achieve much of what you are suggesting on a daily basis. I actually think caffeine is a great example of what you are proposing, because (at least for people who tolerate it well and don't have any other conditions) it is safe, effective, and has less serious withdrawal symptoms and is somewhat less addictive than many other drugs. That said, among people who use caffeine regularly, some of the benefits begin to wane, and people start needing caffeine to maintain their normal level of alertness.

People with ADHD (and some others without, particularly students) also take amphetamines to help with attention (Adderall is an amphetamine; Ritalin/methylphenidate is closely related). There is a bit of controversy over whether that's a good idea or not. All of these things have side effects, including potential for changes in personality, anxiety, and various peripheral side effects, as well as the risks of dependency and symptoms of withdrawal.

Codeine and other opiates, on the other hand, are primarily useful for blocking pain. They are often associated with euphoria, but their other psychological effects are mostly depressant: drowsiness, respiratory depression, suppression of gut motility leading to constipation, etc. I'm not aware of any cognitive enhancement from codeine, unless the cognitive task you are trying to perform is sleep.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the answer. I get migraine attacks once in a while (a week or so) , and i use a low dose of codeine to fade it away. I feel the drastic effect of it on my mood every time. It just makes me do anything faster, better, and more accurate, however i don't stick to it since I don't want to be dependent. Does the effect wane after a while because the blood contains more of that substance by using it over and over? $\endgroup$ – Jack Johansson Jun 24 '17 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ In general, though there are always exceptions, tolerance occurs because of down regulation of receptors for a drug, or compensatory up-regulation of other proteins. If you suffer from migraine headaches and codeine helps your cognition, that's probably mostly from the relief from the migraine. Tolerance is usually best avoided by keeping doses low and infrequent. Sometimes infrequent dosing can encourage addiction, but if doses are low and only used therapeutically, that is less likely. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 24 '17 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ I actually tried a codeine tablet once, when I didn't have an attack. It warms the head and you know... felt way better than a smoke or 2 cups of black coffee. I don't take the pill unless the pain is unbearable, since being addicted is the last thing I would ever want ;) $\endgroup$ – Jack Johansson Jun 24 '17 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ That's called "euphoria" and that's basically why people get addicted to things like heroin. Especially when injected, so you get it into the bloodstream quickly, it gives a really fast immediate euphoria, much better than a codeine tablet would do. Doesn't make you better at anything, just feels really good. It basically hijacks the brain's reward system and goes right to that high. The problem is, people end up chasing after that high the rest of their lives sometimes, and they can never get it back because it won't beat the first time, unless they use more and more. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 24 '17 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ From your comment I took a brief look through recent literature on codeine and cognitive abilities in case there was something I was unfamiliar with...all studies I found showed either a mild impairment or no effect of codeine (on measures of things like attention, memory, alertness, vigilance, at therapeutic doses for pain/cough). There aren't any studies that show enhancement. Just be cautious in case the euphoric effects are tricking you into thinking you do better on the codeine. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 24 '17 at 22:39

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