There are two things that we need to consider if we wish to address the issue of using Ritalin solely for the purpose of enhancing the cognition, memory and focus that is vital for academic performance, i.e. for studying. First of all, we need to examine whether Ritalin is capable of enhancing these mental processes and to what extent. However, we also need to examine whether this is something that can be recommended or whether it is inadvisable.
First, we will explain how Ritalin can enhance the mental processes included in studying. The way in which Ritalin functions is by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) that affect these mental processes. The neurotransmitters that are increased in volume by the use of Ritalin are dopamine and norepinephrine. Ritalin increases the levels of these neurotransmitters by inhibiting their reuptake in the synapses.
Also, it is suggested that Ritalin can also stimulate increased production of these neurotransmitters. These increased levels result in definite improvement of certain mental functions, including the ability to focus, working memory, cognition, motivation and learning. So, when we are talking from a solely functional aspect of Ritalin, it cannot be denied that Ritalin can help person study better.
However, we now come to the other issue that we need to tackle, namely whether Ritalin should be used for this purpose.
There are some bioethics experts that advocate the opinion that it is not a rational practice to preclude people from using Ritalin as a means to improving cognitive abilities, including studying.However, this may not be entirely true. Namely, Ritalin has an abuse potential. Meaning that there is a possibility that those who use it for studying may start to abuse the drug, developing dependency and becoming outright addicted to the drug. Also, there is not enough data on how effective and how safe Ritalin is for people who do not use it for medical conditions such as narcolepsy and ADHD and who use it to enhance their cognitive abilities.
Still, more and more college students are starting to use Ritalin in order to improve their studying abilities, which is something most experts see as an unsafe practice and one that invalidates examinations, as the people using Ritalin are at an unfair advantage over their colleagues who are not using Ritalin.
In conclusion, Ritalin may help you study, but it not a practice that is advisable. Namely, there are still too many unknowns as to whether Ritalin should be used for this purpose, as well as certain risks involved that make this practice too risky to be advised. It is better to study more and to steer clear of cognition enhancers such as Ritalin, at least until more studies have been conducted.