Becoming Addicted To The Study Drug Modafinil

The prescription drug Provigil, or Modafinil as it is more widely known, aims to promote the feeling of being wide awake, without the unwanted effects of being addictive like many other similar prescription medications. However, more and more reports and anecdotal evidence are suggesting that addiction may actually be a side effect of the drug.

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for helping those individuals that suffer from sleep apnea, disorders associated with shift work, and narcolepsy feels more awake. Due to the fact that it is commonly believed to be a relatively safe drug, without any major side effects, Modafinil is often also prescribed for mild cases of fatigue.

It was described by TIME magazine as a drug that is successful in treating those individuals with sleep disorders. Because of its effectiveness, many doctors prescribe Modafinil to sufferers of Schizophrenia and ADHD. As the drug has become increasingly popular it has started to be used for purposes that are non-medical.

What is Modafinil used to treat?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Modafinil to treat conditions including shift work sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. It is also occasionally used for other purposes that are not FDA approved.

One such condition that it is used for, which has not been approved by the FDA, is in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is believed that Modafinil helps to improve some of the symptoms, although the research shows that there are no benefits to its use. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics has not recommended its use for ADHD.

It is also used to treat depression in those individuals that are not able to completely treat their condition with antidepressants alone. It has been shown that Modafinil’s use alongside conventional antidepressants is effective in improving symptoms of excessive tiredness and fatigue in those suffering from depression. Similarly, it has been shown to treat these same symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferers.

Although not typically prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, some individuals have stated that Modafinil provides them with a greater level of calm, confidence in stressful or social situations, and much more focus. One of the many minor side effects of Modafinil use is a loss of appetite. Because of this, this substance is often misused as an aid for weight loss.

It has been suggested by a handful of eminent medical scientists that stimulants such as Modafinil can be used by adults with a clean bill of health that wishes to increase their intellectual creativity.
Because of the relative safety of the drug, it is now being explored for a larger number of applications, including as a treatment for autism, depression, and ADHD. Rather than the stimulants that are currently used in the treatment of these disorders, Modafinil Now offers benefits of providing a feeling of being wide awake without any need for more sleep when the effects of the drug eventually wear off.

Using illegal substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine triggers the same reward mechanism that Modafinil use does. However, these drugs do it much more powerfully and quicker than Modafinil does. Because of the similarities, Modafinil is being explored as a means of weaning drug addicts off of these more harmful substances.

How should Modafinil be taken?

What an individual is taking the substance for will determine how it is taken. If it is being used to reduce symptoms of sleepiness during the day, as a result of sleep apnea or narcolepsy, it should be taken during the morning. For shift workers that suffer from sleep disorders, they should take it approximately one hour before the start of their shift. It should be noted that Modafinil works to increase the feeling of being wide awake so it should always be taken several hours before an individual's intended bedtime.

The drug can be taken either without or with food. Taking it with food may be helpful for those individuals who find that it gives them an upset stomach, as this will reduce the symptoms. However, when taken with food, Modafinil does take longer to begin working.

It should be noted that Modafinil interacts differently with various foodstuffs, so this needs to be considered when taking the drug. Drinking orange and / or grapefruit juice, along with several other fruit juices, can increase the quantity of the substance in the body, and thus increases the side effects. Similarly, caffeine, in either beverage or food form, can increase the stimulant effect of Modafinil. This can, therefore, work to intensify any side effects that may be stimulant related, such as nervousness, anxiety, and trouble with sleeping. Foodstuffs that contain large doses of caffeine include soda, tea, chocolate, and coffee.

Modafinil should never be taken alongside alcohol or any illegal drugs. Alcohol typically has the effect of making individuals feel sleepy and tired. This can, therefore, work to reduce the effectiveness of the drug.

The tablets themselves should never be split or crushed. For those individuals that struggle with swallowing the large tablets, they should speak with a licensed healthcare practitioner who may be able to provide help in making them easier to get down.

What are the side effects of Modafinil use?

Some of the minor side effects that those individuals using Modafinil may and can experience include nausea, anxiety, dry mouth, diarrhea, chest pain, hallucinations, loss of appetite, headaches, feelings of nervousness, trouble sleeping, dizziness, a runny nose, back pain, and an upset stomach. Some of the less frequent side effects that may or can be experienced include constipation, tremors, depression, a rapid heartbeat, vertigo, and confusion.

In extremely rare instances, Modafinil use can cause an intense rash. This may be present along with other symptoms of a fever and vomiting. It may even lead to issues with the lungs, liver, heart, and kidneys. If this occurs, the individual is advised to either call 911 or make their way to the emergency room (ER).

Because of these unwanted side effects, it is not advisable to drive if it is not known what effect Modafinil will have. Those individuals experiencing confusion, sleepiness, and lightheadedness should not use dangerous equipment or drive a vehicle.

How addictive is Modafinil?

The latest research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s director suggests that Modafinil is likely to be much more addictive than the medical industry's first thought. It was concluded that its use, without the correct level of oversight from a licensed healthcare practitioner, could possibly lead to either abuse and / or addiction of the drug.

The research looked at 10 adult male participants that were considered healthy. They were each given either an active 200 milligram or 400-milligram Modafinil tablet and an ineffective placebo. Their brain activity was measured after each using a series of PET brain scans.

What they showed was that Modafinil blocked the transporters that are responsible for removing dopamine from the brain. Because the chemical is used by the body as a reward mechanism, it is believed that any blockages, which may result in an increased level of the chemical in the brain, may produce a feeling that is addictive.

Esteemed professor David Weinshenker who works out of Emory University in Atlanta and specializes in human genetics has performed studies on mice, which looked at the addictive properties of Modafinil. Similar to the studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s, Professor Weinshenker found that both Modafinil and cocaine share a brain receptor, but did go on to downplay its potential for becoming addictive.

He went on to explain that the vast majority of individuals that take the substance do not state that they feel any sort of euphoria nor the feeling of being high. Many actually report that they do not feel remotely stimulated, unlike with caffeine. Weinshenker did not find Modafinil to possess any properties relating to neither addiction nor withdrawal.

However, just like different drugs, both prescription and illegal, have different effects on different individuals, then it could be the case that Modafinil is highly addictive to certain individuals and not to others. These vulnerable individuals include those with past, or even a present, of drug addiction to any form of substance.

The addictive properties of Modafinil are evident on the website Erowid (a non-judgmental forum) where anecdotal reports detail individual’s experiences of them becoming addicted to the drug. One particular individual stated that they could not imagine getting through life without the substance and takes 1200 mg of Modafinil each and every day.

According to the United State Drug Enforcement Administration Modafinil is classed as, along with both Ambien and Xanax, as a Schedule IV drug. This means it is a controlled substance, which has a low potential for becoming addictive, compared with Schedule III drugs, such as anabolic steroids and codeine. Because of its classification, Modafinil can only be prescribed by a licensed medical doctor and dispensed by a registered pharmacist.

The pharmaceutical company that manufactures Modafinil, Cephalon, warns that it should not be taken by an individual that is deemed healthy. They state that the drug’s packaging does accurately state that it is open to potential addiction/abuse.

Who should not use Modafinil?

As stated, any vulnerable individuals with past, or even a present, of drug addiction to any form of substance should not use Modafinil. Further to this, those women, who are either pregnant or breastfeeding should not use the drug. This is because there has been very little research into how the substance may affect an unborn fetus or a newborn baby.

There are some studies that have been conducted on animals, which show Modafinil has a negative effect on the fetus when the drug is taken by the mother. However, this is not to say that the same is true in humans.

There have been cases where the growth of a fetus has slowed and some have even miscarried when the mother was taking Modafinil. What is unclear, however, is if the drug was the cause of these instances.

For any individual thinking about taking Modafinil, they should seek the advice of a licensed healthcare practitioner. The drug should only be used by pregnant women if they think the benefits of doing so outweigh the potential risks involved. Similarly, those women that are breastfeeding should decide if they either want to stop taking the drug or stop breastfeeding altogether.

What to do if you become addicted to Modafinil

As is clear, the allure of Modafinil addiction can be high. Luckily, however, it does not come with the same level of stigma that other similar, and more notorious stimulants come with. This is partly because of the benefits it provides those addicted to it, such as thinking clearer and enabling them to get by with very little sleep.

However, for those individuals who find themselves still taking Modafinil beyond its initial purpose of use, then they may have an addiction to it. Such individuals should seek help from a licensed healthcare practitioner or a residential treatment center.

What are the alternatives to Modafinil?

For those individuals, who are worried about the potentially addictive nature of Modafinil or have used it and it has not had the desired effects; there are some alternatives out there.

As always, you should speak with a licensed healthcare practitioner prior to taking any new medication, but some of the other medication that is available and can be used to treat symptoms of sleepiness in sufferers of sleep apnea, narcolepsy and other sleep disorders include Sodium Oxybate (Xyrem), Armodafinil (Nuvigil), Amphetamine (Adzenys ER, Adzenys, Evekeo, XR-ODT, Dyanavel XR), Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), Adderall (dextroamphetamine salts and amphetamine), Dextroamphetamine (Zenzedi, ProCentra, Dexedrine), and Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Aptensio XR, Cotempla XR-ODT, Methylin, Daytrana, Quillivant XR, QuilliChew ER, Concerta).

It should be noted, however, that not all of these drugs are not specifically designed or marketed for use as a treatment for sleep-related disorders.

Author's Bio: 

This is Arifur Rahman. Who is a professional SEO Specialist & Blogger. He has been working in this sector since 2015. He loves to share his stories, tips, tricks and teach the online readers