Signs, Symptoms And Side Effects Of Modafinil Abuse

Modafinil has a low addictive potential compared to other substances. People with a history of substance use disorders are more likely to develop a dependence on Modafinil.

Signs of Modafinil misuse can include insomnia, irritability, anger and mood swings.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur when people who have been taking it for a while stop treatment. These symptoms can include lethargy, anxiety, anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure) and insomnia.

If you or someone you know needs help stopping Modafinil use, feel free to contact The Recovery Village. They’re connected to a network of specialists who can help.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a prescription medication that promotes wakefulness. Its most common use is as a treatment for narcolepsy. Other indications for Modafinil use include obstructive sleep apnea, idiopathic hypersomnia and shift work sleep disorder.

Modafinil is a widely researched substance. Researchers are still trying to understand how Modafinil achieves its stimulating effects. Modafinil shares structural similarities to central nervous stimulants like amphetamines but behaves differently in the body.

Modafinil affects the activity of several neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Modafinil is a highly selective dopamine reuptake inhibitor. It disrupts certain dopamine transporter channels while leaving others unaffected. By disrupting these transporter channels, Modafinil slows the reuptake of dopamine and increases its effectiveness. Dopamine improves focus, concentration and motivation. Modafinil also increases the activity of serotonin in various areas of the brain.

Modafinil Addiction

The United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Modafinil as a schedule IV controlled substance. Modafinil can be addictive to a small percentage of individuals. Compared to other substances, Modafinil has a low risk of developing dependence.

The biochemical mechanisms of Modafinil are like more addictive stimulants. Some animal studies have reported the potential for addictive behaviors and mood-elevating properties of Modafinil.

Monkeys who have been trained to self-administer cocaine have been trained to self-administer Modafinil. Mild to moderate doses of Modafinil do not produce addictive behaviors in mice. A percentage of rodents given higher doses of Modafinil do develop addictive behaviors.

People who use Modafinil have independently reported that psychological dependence can develop. These individuals report anhedonia, anxiety, insomnia and lethargy upon cessation of use.

Modafinil Long-Term Effects

Modafinil is generally well-tolerated at high doses. Several large-scale studies have concluded that there is no risk of developing a tolerance for the drug. These studies monitored patients who had been taking Modafinil for between 40 weeks to three years.

In clinical trials, human test subjects took 1200 mg of Modafinil per day for up to three weeks. Most participants reported few side effects. Patients were also occasionally administered one-time overdoses of up to 4500 mg without the occurrence of life-threatening side effects. Over the course of the study, a range of side effects did occur, including heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, irritability, agitation, nervousness, tremors, sleep disturbances, diarrhea and nausea.

Some cases of negative psychiatric reactions have been reported at normal doses. Incidences such as these have occurred in individuals both with and without a history of mental illness. A small percentage of patients experience a hypersensitive histamine response and associated skin rash when taking Modafinil.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.