This article is intended to be used by the general public for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a reference for educational research papers, nor is it a reflection of the services available through our Rehab Program in Thailand.

Modafinil – Disrupts Sleep & Affects Moods

Modafinil prescription

The prescribed use of modafinil is fraught with potential issues, the abuse of the drug is opening a door to unknown and unwanted problems.

What is it?

Modafinil is a stimulant drug. While it offers some similarities to the drug Ritalin it is not an amphetamine-related drug.

It is used by the medical profession in the treatment of patients with chronic sleeping problems. The most common form of this problem is:

Narcolepsy:

This sleep disorder displays characteristics of excessive sleepiness, a condition known as sleep paralysis and hallucinations.

It is understood that it affects men and women equally and that around 1 in 2,000 people suffer with the condition.

Symptoms usually appear during childhood or as a person grows into adolescence, unfortunately, many who suffer do not receive the proper diagnosis.

Military use and for those with long working hours:

The armed forces also use modafinil during times of combat. This is to keep service personnel awake for extended periods. While all military personnel who use the drug will be aware of, and accept the effects, illegal use is believed to be growing among those who work irregular shift work. Examples being medical staff in hospitals and pilots.

‘Positive’ effects:

While staying awake is an obvious positive, users also report a mild buzz and are often very talkative around 30 minutes after the first dose. As doses continue mild euphoria steadily builds and a state of ease become more apparent.

What a user must be prepared for is being unable to sleep even if they want to, and when the last dose is taken feelings of anxiety grow as the comedown begins. Many users report symptoms of panic attacks after this last dose.

The temptation here is obviously to take more, but that will do far more harm than good.

How long do effects last?

This is where the danger of non-prescribed use comes into play. Prolonged periods of wakefulness predominate. Up to 40 hours without sleep.

Some users have stated that it is superior to amphetamine drugs because 3 major withdrawal symptoms are minimised. These are:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

How does it work?

Another concern for those who regularly use this drug without a prescription or simply to keep going is that doctors do not know exactly how the drug works.

It is thought to work on one of the brain’s vital neurotransmitter’s; Dopamine. Among the actions dopamine is responsible for are a person’s mood, their thoughts and their ability to stay awake.

Regular use can lead to long term abuse:

Similar to all drugs that keep a person awake for unreasonable lengths of time, modafinil can cause physical and psychological problems if used regularly or over extended periods.

Illegal use will lead to regular use. A person will begin taking the drug even when it is not necessary to do so. The negative effects of extended use include such things as deep feelings of fatigue and disorientation.

If you find your use of modafinil is regular or increasing it would be wise to seek the help of your doctor or a rehabilitation establishment far sooner than later.

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