Update: it’s been almost two more years of using it since I first published it and everything I write about in this article still stands true. I’ve added a few things and edited some parts but in essence it’s unchanged.
You’ve probably heard about Modafinil by now. It is also known as Provigil, Nuvigil, Modalert etc. It’s a very popular nootropic or “smart drug”. It is a stimulant, similar in it’s effect to caffeine (at least to me). I decided to try Modafinil after reading about it on some blog a couple of years ago, I can’t remember exactly where. I’ve read everything I could find on it on the internet and felt it was safe enough to give it a shot. I’ve been taking it on and off since then. I have had an overall positive experience with it. When I take Modafinil I feel more aware, more alert, more focused, more social, my reflexes are faster, everything seems to speed up, time seems to go by slower. Here are my observations:
WHY TAKE IT:
- Need to stay up and be alert for a job, school, party, anything.
- Need to concentrate on a task for an extended period of time.
- Need endurance and strength related physical performance enhancer.
- Need a cognitive enhancer for a test or exam.
The following are my observations from using Modafinil over the last couple of years:
1. Your workouts and any type of physical activity will seem much easier, you will be able to handle more weight or run longer without getting tired. I’ve used it when I did Tough Mudder and Spartan races and I did much better on the running part which I’m not very good at. I hardly felt tired during and after the race.
2. Although many people say there is no withdrawal, I think there is at least a mild one. Since I’ve never taken any hard drugs I’m not really familiar with serious withdrawals thus I can’t compare. But for at least a couple of days after you stop taking Modafinil even if you only took it for a few days you’re going to notice a difference. The best way to describe the way I felt was mentally exhausted. It was like an extreme mental fatigue. I felt tired and sleepy throughout the day even if I slept longer than normal. After a few days (the longest for me was about a week after a long period of use) your brain bounces back and you return to normal. But like I said it only lasts a few days and getting extra sleep and some caffeine should mitigate that easily.
3. It’s not habit forming in my experience. Even if i take it every day for several weeks straight I never catch myself craving it. I often would have to remind myself to take it and sometimes forget to although I had every intention to.
4. It improves cognitive function. Language and speaking is much improved on Modafinil. I recall facts faster, I start using obscure words I didn’t even know I knew, I talk faster and just the flow of thought is much smoother and coherent than usual.
5. As far as making you social it has a moderate effect on me. Again stronger in the beginning and less so the longer you use it. The way works for me is it doesn’t necessary make me want to go talk to people but if I need to I feel much more open to it.
6. It improves focus and concentration. If you’re talking to another person you will be consumed by your conversation, you will give them your full undivided attention. Same thing with a test or anything you’re doing for that matter. You could be folding your laundry with great engagement and focus.
8. It will take 2-3 times the usual amount of alcohol to have an effect on you. Usually I can feel the effects of alcohol after 2 beers. On Modafinil I can down 5 beers in a row and not even notice it. So be aware of that fact and don’t drink too much.
9. I do require extra sleep when taking Modafinil. For me at least another hour in addition to what I normally sleep. That is a main trade-off of using Modafinil. It makes your brain “work harder” or “in higher gear” however it needs to recover and rest more to compensate for that extra output.
10. A friend of mine who drinks a lot of coffee hasn’t noticed much of an effect from 100mg dose although he only tried once.
11. As with anything else the first few times you use the effect will be stronger and gradually with time it will subside a little to a pretty even stable level.
12. It’s effect on the sense of well being (your mood) was experienced much stronger in the beginning and now is fairly mild sometimes hardly noticeable.
13. As a stimulant it might suppress your appetite. However once I got used to it it didn’t affect it that much.
14. It will make you quite thirsty. You will need to drink a lot more liquids to stay hydrated.
1. I did get some skin rashes a couple of times. They were small (less than an inch in diameter) and usually in inconspicuous areas and went a way in a day or two. Nothing serious but it’s worth mentioning.
2. Sometimes there is a headache like feeling as if there is too much blood pumping in to your brain (that’s the best I can describe it). Might have to do with higher blood pressure. However, having measuring blood pressure didn’t show it to be much higher than normal. It would happen more if I’m taking a higher dose than usual (200 mg tab). But it’s extremely mild and doesn’t last long.
3. It gives me anxiety ( a pretty serious one) if I use it for a few weeks without taking proper pauses between takes. Anxiety goes away 1-5 days after stopping using it. It’s a pretty serious drawback for me and the only way to combat it is to take at least 2-3 days between doses.
4. It makes me very short tempered, I snap at things easily. Interestingly enough it does’t happen with people so much as with something I’m busy with at the moment. It just makes me very upset if things don’t go smoothly when I’m working on them. For example I’m doing repairs on my motorcycle and I can’t quite fit a socket on a bolt somewhere and I would just snap and throw the wrench at the wall across the garage. This is not normal behavior for me. It usually happens towards the end of the day when Modafinil’s effect starts wearing off and it persists maybe for another day or so after. Again, this could just be my individual reaction to it doens’t mean you will experience it too.
HOW MUCH TO TAKE
As far as dosage I prefer 100 mg per day. I’ve tried 50 mg and that was not enough potency. At 200 mg I felt it was a bit too much, it made me jittery and made falling asleep difficult. 100 mg dose works great for me but you need to experiment and find your own sweet spot.
HOW OFTEN TO TAKE IT
I’ve tried various combinations. One week on one week off, every day for a month, every other day for a month, a month on a month off etc. One conclusion I made is that to get the most out of it it is best not to take it every day. Take it at least every other day or better take 2 days off between uses. That way you will not get used to it because taking it every day reduces the effect somewhat.
Also I’ve noticed it is best to let your body guessing instead of taking it on a rigid schedule. Say one week take it first thing in the morning. Another week take it before lunch. Sometimes takes a couple of days in a row, then every other day, then take a break for a week. That way your brain will not anticipate it and thus will have much harder time adapting to it.
HOW TO TAKE IT
1. It is best to take on an empty stomach, although it might have a mild laxative effect similar to a cup coffee. Whenever I took it soon after a meal the overall effect was diminished. Not sure why, just felt like it.
2. It is best taken in the morning or early afternoon. Otherwise you might have trouble falling asleep come night time. Btw it’s going to affect your sleep in the beginning but once you get used it won’t interfere with it as much. I remember having vivid and euphoric dreaming in the beginning but that goes away after a few days.
WHERE TO GET IT
Normally you would need a prescription to get Modafinil and if you can then do that. But as with almost anything else these days they sell it online without one. I’ve tried a few random online pharmacies I found with Google search. All were successful transactions. Haven’t had any issues or problems with payment or delivery. The latest order I’ve gotten was from modup.com. I recommend it as far as it has worked for me. Their prices are competitive and the shipping was fairly fast. I have no affiliation with them.
To conclude, Modafinil is something I would recommend everyone to at least try and see how it works for you. It is still unclear how it exactly works in our brain, and my experinece is just another case in the anecdotal evidence category that support the idea that Modafinil is “safe” at least short term. There are people who’ve used it much longer than I have and they seem to be doing just fine. I feel like the benefits of taking Modafinil outweigh the negatives and it’s a worthy tool to add to your arsenal.