The use of stimulants and complementary medicine to enhance mental alertness by health sciences students at the University of Johannesburg

Access full-text article here

Tags:

Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the use of stimulants and complementary medicine (CM) to enhance mental alertness by Health Sciences students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). This research was a quantitative-descriptive, survey design study. A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed to Health Sciences students between the ages of 18-40, who were registered at UJ for the 2016 academic year. The survey took place at the UJ Doornfontein campus; participation was voluntary and consent was given by participants prior to filling in the questionnaire. The questionnaire took approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. Data from the questionnaires was captured by the researcher and analysed using frequencies and column table analysis. The typical participant was female (74.7%), between the age of 18-20 (49.8%), of African race (58.3%), and in her first year of study (55.8%). Health concerns for mental alertness indicated that 84.3% of participants experienced a decrease in concentration or attention and 51% experienced low energy. Use of CM or stimulant-containing products was reported by 64% of participants. Awareness of any possible negative effects of CM or stimulant-containing products was reported by 42.0% of participants; while 17.8% were not aware of any possible negative effects and 40.3% were unsure of any possible negative effects. Participants most commonly made use of energy drink, caffeine, and vitamins and supplements to enhance their mental alertness. The outcomes of the study showed that there is a need for further education on CM and stimulant-containing products for students.