This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Smart Drugs and Language Learning…
Smart Drugs. Yes. And with the recent news about Thailand clamping down on rock star Sek Loso’s drug habit, DRUGS being supported on a Thai language site might come as a surprise.
But here’s the thing. It’s no secret that my main aim is to find the best methods and materials to learn Thai. Whatever they are.
To do this, over the years I’ve shared many posts on how to increase your chances of success with learning the Thai language.
If you are looking for a good resource to learn Thai online, check out Learn Thai from a White Guy. Upon entering your email, you'll get five free lessons to help you start learning to read Thai.
The basics? Use good materials, eat healthy, get lots of sleep, study daily, surround yourself with all things Thai language, and never ever give up.
Learning languages is a lengthily process. Sure, you can get a jump into a foreign language with a mere 100 top words and an understanding of the basic sentence structure, but there is no quick fix to real fluency. You must do the time.
And here’s a second ‘but’. Many expats learning Thai these days are of the retirement age. And a sizable chunk of those have never successfully learned a second language.
Right away we have older, sluggish brains struggling to learn a tonal language. So even with their best efforts, the often slow to zilch progress sometimes results in a lack of confidence, leading to the eventual waning of the motivation to study Thai.
And if that’s where you are right now, you might want to look into the benefits of Nootropics. Yeah. The D word. Drugs.
Smart drugs and learning Thai…
Always on the lookout for anything to help with memory and motivation, when I came across Nootropics (Smart Drugs) I immediately thought of language learning.
Just what are Nootropics? I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty details of Nootropics in this post, but in a nutshell (and some wiki scraping)…
In 1964, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea synthetised Piracetam, labeling it as a Nootropic. Nootropics are also known as smart drugs, memory enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers.
Now, I’m a lightweight with drugs. I can barely handle mild painkillers without passing out. Regardless, I do try to keep an open mind on anything that’ll help with my Thai studies. Okokok… I do draw the line at a sleeping dictionary (but never say never).
Dr. Giurgea’s much touted ‘basic characteristics of Nootropics’ eased my mind:
- They should enhance learning and memory.
- They should enhance the resistance of learned behaviors/memories to conditions which tend to disrupt them (e.g. electroconvulsive shock, hypoxia).
- They should protect the brain against various physical or chemical injuries (e.g. barbiturates, scopalamine).
- They should increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms.
- They should lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs (e.g. sedation, motor stimulation) and possess very few side effects and extremely low toxicity.
Sweet. Now curious to try Smart Drugs, I discovered that due to Nootropics being relatively safe they are legal most everywhere. Most specifically, Thailand. And like many drugs in Thailand, Nootropics are easily purchased over the counter.
Finding Nootropics in my area was not easy but I was eventually able to locate a needed stash by phone.
Note: Not all Nootropics are available in Thailand, but enough.
I jumped right in with Piracetam, which is apparently the best documented Nootropic around. After more googling I added Letchin, L-Carnitine, Hydergine, a range of vitamins, and Melatonin to help me sleep.
I experienced an improvement in focus, my motivation revved, and a increase in my short-term memory was noticeable. A plus, I felt sense of euphoria, I became less of an introvert/hermit, and the world around me brightened. Brilliant.
And then I had two glasses of wine. Thunk. The bright colours dulled as did my brain.
Good to know.
Apparently there are differing opinions on consuming alcohol and Nootropics. Some say it’s ok, others say no.
The combination of alcohol and Piracetam didn’t work for me so I’m taking a Nootropics break while on holiday. But, I’ll be back in the Smart Drug saddle after the new year. And that’s a promise.
And sure, I’ll write about my experiences with learning languages while on Nootropics. In vivid detail. I’ll also expand on the safety as well as the cautions of Smart Drugs too (so please don’t worry about the D word – too much).
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a quote from a knowledgeable Nootropics tester:
Your capacity for attention is largely dependent on you. Self-discipline still plays a role in the larger scheme of things. Yes. Caffeine, Piracetam and ALCAR will help you stay focused – by staving off lethargy and fatigue. But none of that will matter if you lack the discipline to stay off Facebook.
Nootropics: Smart drugs, memory enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers. Mighty fine.