Modalert is a generic version of modafinil manufactured by the drug company Sun Pharma. Modafinil is a prescription stimulant used to treat narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder, which is insomnia that occurs when work hours overlap with regular sleeping hours. It can also be prescribed to treat obstructive sleep apnea and off-label to those with ADD/ADHD and schizophrenia. It is also widely available on the internet and commonly abused recreationally without a prescription.
Stimulants, such as Modafinil, Adderall, and Ritalin, have increased in popularity in recent years among teens and young adults looking to improve academic performance. Modafinil isn’t an amphetamine like Adderall or Ritalin, but it produces many of the same effects. These types of drugs stimulate the brain and alter the natural flow of neurochemicals. This results in abusers experiencing an intense sense of alertness and focus, reduced appetite, and little need for sleep.
Modafinil In the Media
Such drugs have also achieved fame after the film “Limitless” (2011) starring Bradley Cooper was released. In the movie, a pill known as NZT 48 is portrayed as being capable of unlocking incredible, unprecedented intelligence and corresponding success. The drug described in the film is a work of fiction. Still, many individuals seeking an easy answer to their academic concerns have fallen for claims that using modafinil or other stimulants is the closest thing they can get to being super-human in terms of productivity.
Modafinil abuse comes with several risks, however. Among these are the risk of side effects, especially in those under age 18. It can also cause psychological dependence, leading to ever-increasing levels of abuse and emotional addiction characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.
How Addictive Is Modafinil?
Some research has found that modafinil may have some potential for abuse and addiction. One study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) found that modafinil’s method of action is comparable to very addictive drugs such as cocaine and meth. This suggests that individuals with a history of substance abuse issues may be more susceptible to engaging in modafinil abuse.
Studies have also shown that while relatively uncommon, modafinil dependence is possible. The case study’s findings provide evidence that modafinil can produce mild tolerance, which may drive some individuals to abuse it in higher amounts to achieve the same effects they felt at lower doses. As a result, they might develop a psychological dependence or addiction.
More and more high school and college students, working professionals, long-shift workers, and others have begun to misuse modafinil as a cognitive enhancer. As noted, modafinil has gained a reputation as a “smart drug” with the ability to enhance cognitive performance. However, although modafinil can improve concentration, much like caffeine can, it is not a miracle drug. In fact, when abused in excessive doses, it can have opposite effects and may make an individual easier to distract.
Modalert Side Effects
As with any prescription drug, modafinil comes with many potential side effects. It’s mostly known for its adverse impact on sleep, as it reduces the need for it, which is why many students utilize the drug as a study aid.
If someone you love is exhibiting one or more of the following symptoms combined with other signs and symptoms of drug abuse, they may be abusing modafinil:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Excessive thirst and dry mouth
- Tight muscles or pain that can impair movement
- Burning, numbness, or tingling of the skin
- Gassiness, diarrhea, or constipation
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty seeing or eye pain
Modafinil can also cause more severe side effects, including the following:
- Peeling skin
- Mouth sores
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Chest pain
- Heart arrhythmia
- Swelling of the face, eyes, tongue, throat, lips, or limbs
- Suicidal ideations
Also, clinical trials found that many pediatric patients developed uncommon and life-threatening skin conditions, such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. For this reason and others, it’s strongly recommended children do not use modafinil.
Many of the risks of taking prescription medications recreationally is a lack of oversight. If an individual with a modafinil prescription encounters side effects, their health provider can adjust the dosage and reduce the potential for complications. Abusers of this drug don’t have access to medical monitoring, however, so they are more likely to experience serious side effects that could require medical intervention.
When prescribed, a typical dose of modafinil is 200 mg once per day. Ingesting any more than this amount could result in an overdose. This can also occur if the drug is used in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol.
Many symptoms of modafinil overdose are similar to the drug’s severe side effects. If an individual were to experience these side effects and took excessive amounts of the drug, 911 or a local poison control center should be contacted as soon as possible.
Modafinil overdose symptoms can include the following:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Chest pain
- Slow or rapid heartbeat
- Uncontrollable shaking
Combining Modafinil with Drugs or Alcohol
Research from modafinil makers suggests that users should avoid consuming alcohol while taking modafinil, which, as noted, has been known to cause psychological dependence. Users with a history of substance abuse or addiction are also advised not to use this drug. Using other psychoactive or intoxicating substances in combination with modafinil increases the likelihood of developing abuse problems associated with either or both substances.
Modafinil Withdrawal Symptoms
Many persons do not report experiencing significant withdrawal effects after discontinuing modafinil use. However, some individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms such as the following:
- Impaired concentration
- Tiredness, fatigue
- Low energy
- Shortness of breath
If an individual is experiencing any modafinil withdrawal symptoms, they are typically mild. However, moderate-severe symptoms should be addressed by using a medical detox program that can provide stabilization and medical treatment to make the process safer and more comfortable.
Getting Treatment for Drug Abuse
Although Modalert and other modafinil-based products are believed to have a low potential for abuse and dependence, these problems can and do occur. Persons who are abusing stimulants, such as modafinil, are urged to seek professional treatment in the form of long-term, comprehensive programs that address all aspects of a person’s health and wellness.
Just Believe Recovery Center offers multifaceted programs that feature a holistic and evidence-based approach to addiction treatment, including psychotherapy, peer group support, individual and family counseling, relapse prevention, aftercare planning, and more.
We employ caring, highly-skilled medical and mental health providers that facilitate therapies, activities, and other services to those we treat with compassion and expertise. We are committed to ensuring that each individual is provided with all the tools, skills, resources, and support they need to achieve abstinence and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and well-being.