Modafinil and Adderall are both used to increase alertness and ward off excessive sleepiness. However, although they have similar effects, these two drugs have very different modes of action; Adderall is a straightforward stimulant (an amphetamine) and has high potential to be addictive, while Modafinil is not a stimulant and increases alertness through other mechanisms.
There’s been a lot of talk about people taking Modafinil, online on forums and offline via word of mouth among healthy and unhealthy people alike.
Modafinil vs Adderall
- Both drugs increase alertness and ward off sleepiness
- Neither drug significantly improves memory or cognitive abilities but they may enhance decision-making and the ability to focus
- Adderall has high addiction potential
- Adderall is more likely to cause unpleasant side effects
- Both drugs can cause physical dependence, but Adderall is more likely to result in withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinued
- Both drugs can interact badly with alcohol, causing black outs and life threatening cardiovascular events
Modafinil (common brand name Provigil) is prescribed to treat excessive sleepiness due to narcolepsy, sleep disorders, or shift work. It is also used off-label by students and workers to improve alertness and to stave off sleepiness, and sometimes it is prescribed to treat ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. People suffering from these diseases can benefit from taking Modafinil, even though the aforementioned health issues are not part of its registered uses. While people can buy Modafinil from brick-and-mortar pharmacies, online Modafinil is becoming increasingly popular. People ordering generic Modafinil online generally fall into his category, as do others who prefer Modafinil above traditional stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin.
In fact, Modafinil is not classified as a stimulant because it works in a different way; apparently it affects the levels of multiple chemicals in the brain, including GABA, dopamine, histamine, serotonin, histamine, and glutamate. (Source)
The regular dose of Modafinil lies somewhere between the 100mg-200mg range. That is the dosage required to achieve optimal effects.
Furthermore, Modafinil is usually taken by mouth about an hour before the need to be alert occurs; it should generally only be taken once in every 24 hour period. Still, one should also cycle use by taking breaks and avoid build-up of tolerance.
Individuals who take Modafinil regularly for several months may develop physical withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop taking it. Dependence does not mean you are addicted to it; it means your body has physically adapted to its presence. In order to avoid getting hooked on Modafinil, it is necessary to slowly reduce the dose of this medication before stopping it. Of course, you need not worry about Modafinil addiction. It is a rare occurrence, but nonetheless one that ought to be mentioned. There have been very few instances in which individuals have become addicted to Modafinil, but this is not very common.
Common side effects include headache, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty falling asleep. Modafinil can interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal contraception (pills, patches, and implants) and thus has been associated with unwanted pregnancies. Serious, yet rare side effects include a dangerously rapid heartbeat and mental/mood changes that may include confusion, hallucinations, agitation, and intrusive suicidal thoughts.
Adderall is a combination of two drugs, dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is a powerful stimulant that is prescribed to treat ADHD and is sometimes prescribed to treat sleeping disorders. It has also become a popular study aid among students, and some people misuse it by taking it with alcohol or other drugs at parties, a potentially lethal practice.
Adderall is an incredibly strong stimulant, and dosage should not exceed more than what has been discussed with the doctor. Determining the dosage is a very sensitive and subjective matter.
Adderall is usually taken once a day, in the morning, but some individuals are prescribed a second dose to take early in the afternoon. Taking Adderall any later in the day can make it impossible to sleep at night.
Physical dependence and addiction
Like all amphetamines, Adderall can cause physical dependence and it has a fairly high risk of users becoming addicted to it. If suddenly discontinued after regularly using this drug for several months, Adderall will cause withdrawal symptoms such as extreme fatigue and depression; the dose of Adderall should be slowly decreased before stopping it.
Common side effects include loss of appetite, undesired weight loss, nausea, dizziness, headache, nervousness, increased blood pressure, and difficulty sleeping. In rare cases, severe side effects may develop such as circulation problems to the fingers/toes, agitation, mood swings, uncontrolled movements, and intrusive abnormal thoughts. (Source)
In summary, Modafinil and Adderall have similar effects in regards to alertness and warding off sleepiness, but Adderall has high potential to cause addiction and has more side effects and more severe side effects than Modafinil. Most people who use Modafinil don’t experience any side effects, with around 30% reporting headaches and around 10% reporting nausea as their only side effects. Still, there are quite a lot of differences, as well. Close to 40% of users of Adderall report loss of appetite, and a similar percentage report experiencing blood pressure fluctuations and/or dry mouth. Around 1/3 of users report experiencing one or more of the following: headaches, insomnia, abdominal pain, and sexual dysfunction. In addition, some people react really badly to Adderall regardless of the dose and develop severe psychiatric symptoms, like confusion, paranoia, mania, and hallucinations. In conclusion, Modafinil is the safer choice.