In our achievement-driven society, it seems like everyone is looking for a way to gain a competitive advantage and improve their physical and mental performance.
And in recent years, one of the most commons ways that biohackers and high-achievers have created this proverbial “leg up” is through the strategic use of a drug called Modafinil.
Although Modafinil was initially created as an anti-narcolepsy drug, the pioneers of the biohacking space quickly realized that its utility extended far beyond helping shift workers hack their circadian rhythms.
Because of its ability to keep users alert, focused, and in “flow” throughout the course of a long work day, Modafinil has become a wildly popular “Smart Drug” that is quickly gaining traction among a plethora of different communities.
But, as with anything in the realm of performance enhancement, Modafinil’s increasing popularity has also brought about a slew of wild misinformation, false claims, and unfair allegations.
So, what is the real truth about this drug?
What is it? How does it really affect the body? What are the side effects? Is it effective as a “smart drug”? Is it safe? And what can you expect with this so-called “God Pill”?
That’s exactly what I will be detailing today.
Since Modafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance, you can only get it with a doctor’s assistance, and it should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision to prevent and mitigate any of the side effects associated with this drug.
Although I have never been prescribed this medication, my research indicates that it is highly effective at treating the symptoms associated with severe sleep disorders, however, it does not serve as a cure for these conditions.
In comparison to the number of mild and severe medical conditions that Modafinil treats, the research suggests that the side effects associated with the drug are relatively nominal.
However, the number of contraindications associated with this medication as well as its potentially habit forming nature should be topics of concern when evaluating your treatment options.
In addition to its designated use, new studies are showing that Modafinil might serve as an effective treatment option for a number of other cognitive conditions like ADHD and Clinical Depression.
There are a variety of natural alternatives to Modafinil, which could be better options for less severe cases of sleep deprivation (or simple wakefulness).
Substances like Adrafinil, Fluorenol, or Pitosolant as less intense (but still effective) nootropics to help you stay awake and alert.
While these alternatives have fewer recorded side effects and are less abrasive on your system, in extreme cases, they are not as effective as their pharmaceutical counterparts.
Of the more than 70 reviews that I found on WebMD regarding this drug, the majority stated that they felt temporary improvement that lasted in the range of ten hours, which helped the individuals maintain a more normal lifestyle.
Users report a range of side effects, with some patients having more severe side effects while others had none. This backed-up the scientific data that indicates there are contraindications and side effects in some individuals that are directly associated with this medication.
Background: What is Modafinil?
Modafinil is the generic name for the synthetic wakefulness drug Provigil, which and is primarily used for the treatment of sleep conditions that include, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, sleep deprivation, and shift work sleep disorder.
These disorders are not only inconvenient but for the more extreme cases can be deadly.
Recent studies have shown that Modafinil is also an effective drug when treating some non-sleep related conditions, such as ADHD and Clinical Depression.
As a Schedule IV prescription drug, it is not a supplement that you can simply purchase over the counter at your local pharmacy or GNC.
First time Modafinil or Armodafinil user? Start with this quick and easy to understand video about Modafinil from Dave Asprey.
It’ll quickly cover the basics and how this powerful nootropic stacks up against stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin.
Thanks to London Real for sharing this video. They have many more great interviews like this on their YouTube channel, so check that out.
Other Names for Modafinil
Other names for Modafinil are Modalert, Alertec, Modvigil, and Provigil.
Benefits and effects
The benefits seen by taking Modafinil will depend on your individual symptoms or goals when using the drug.
While some patients experience life changing side effects and the elimination of crippling sleep disorders, other users experience effects that are less remarkable but still beneficial.
Commonly Recorded Benefits for “Normal” Patients:
Here are some of the most commonly recorded benefits by patients taking Modafinil to combat destructive sleep disorders.
- Improved Job Satisfaction: It is difficult to hold onto a job or regular income when you are unable to remain awake for more than a few moments at a time. This is especially true in today’s knowledge economy, where our attention is precious. Taking Modafinil keeps you awake and able to function normally enabling you to have a functional work life.
- Socializing: Our relationships give meaning to our lives, but it’s not always easy to be care-free and relaxed, even around friends. To maintain a healthy social circle participation is mandatory. Unfortunately, when you are too tired to function, participating in any social event becomes all but impossible. Taking Modafinil allows you to be more engaged in other aspects of life that you may have been missing out on, and be more social as a result.
- Home Life: Raising a healthy family and experiencing a fulfilling home life takes work, and when you are chronically tired or depressed it can feel overwhelming, even impossible to do everything else and still make time for your children and spouse.. Modafinil helps relieve depression and increase your energy levels so that you can connect with those you love in a healthier and more consistent manner.
Modafinil’s clinical benefits can be distilled down to one phrase… Physical homeostasis.
In other words, it helps rebalance and recalibrate your brain and body, negating the effects of disruptive sleep disorders and allowing you to live a normal life again or for the first time.
Commonly Recorded Benefits for Performance Focused Patients
Just because you need a prescription to legally possess Modafinil doesn’t necessarily mean that narcolepsy is your primary reason for requesting a prescription.
Since Modafinil has a wide number of applications, it’s actually pretty easy to get a prescription from your doctor as long as you have some kind of legitimate need.
For example, I know of several freelancers who work with overseas clients and use Modafinil to help them stay awake and alert during their abnormal work hours.
I also know of plenty of entrepreneurs and startup employees who convince their local doctor to give them a prescription to help with the ridiculous workloads they are facing.
Since these individuals don’t technically suffer from a sleep disorder, I wanted to discuss the performance related benefits separate from clinical benefits.
- Increased Productivity: The most common benefit that I found reported from a wide variety of high achieving individuals is an increase in productivity. Some claim that it gives them laser like focus, others that it simply balances their energy levels, but nearly everyone who uses Modafinil reports some sort of increase in their motivation and productivity.
- Increased Mental Endurance: One of the most difficult parts about being a knowledge worker is trying to operate at full capacity for hours on end. Modafinil seems to provide a quick solution. Nearly everyone I know who has tried the drug claims that they were able to work far longer than normal while maintaining their productivity over the long hours.
- Improves Decision Making: Another commonly reported benefit is that Modafinil helps man people improve their decision making. Or rather, it helps them reduce their propensity to make impulsive or otherwise “bad” decisions.
While most of the studies associated claiming these benefits dealt with smaller sample sizes and require further researc