Modafinil Addiction

Modafinil is a medication prescribed to treat narcolepsy, excessive sleep disorder, or shift work sleep disorder. Modafinil is prescribed for people who work late night shifts and have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during scheduled sleep times. Patients who have difficulty working, or completing tasks are also prescribed Modafinil.

How Does Modafinil Work?

Modafinil, a central nervous stimulant is used to promote wakefulness and alertness. It works similarly to amphetamines, but to a lesser degree, and has a lower potential for abuse and addiction than medications like Adderall. Because it is a stimulant, it is prescribed for non approved uses, like fatigue, or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

Since there has been an increase in off label prescribing, Modafinil prescription usage has increased. As usage increases, more side effects are reported and the potential for addiction increases. When used without physician supervision the risk of side effects and addictions is increased. While Modafinil is not highly addictive, one group that has caused an increase in its use is teenagers. They take it without physician supervision to help them stay awake and to remain alert so that they can study, or cram for exams.

Common Side Effects

Generally, Modafinil is tolerated well, with few side effects. If taken correctly, then Modafinil is shown to be effective in treating narcolepsy with few side effects. Here are some of the most common side effects and a few of the rare and more serious ones: 

  • Depression, anxiety
  • Skin rash, hives
  • Mouth sores, trouble swallowing
  • Swelling in legs
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling nervous
  • Stuffy nose

More severe side effects include: 

  • Hallucinations or unusual thoughts
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidal thoughts

These are some of the more common side effects. Contact your physician if you develop any of these. Most patients do not develop side effects to the point that they must discontinue use of Modafinil.

There are also medications that can cause interactions and should be avoided. Contact your pharmacist or physician for more details. Most interactions are from medications that work the same way, like caffeine, over the counter nasal decongestants, and other stimulants. Likewise, Modafinil can interfere with certain medications like sleep aids, and can lower the effectiveness of some medications like warfarin, a blood thinner.

Modafinil And Drug Addiction

For many years it was believed that Modafinil had little potential for abuse. It was placed in schedule IV of the controlled substance Act due to its low potential for abuse. Since 2009 there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of addiction to Modafinil.

How Does It Work?

Modafinil targets the same receptors in the brain as cocaine and methamphetamine, to a lesser degree, and at a slower rate. Thus, the effects are the same, but to a much smaller degree. It increases dopamine in the brain by blocking dopamine uptake receptors.

Will It Show Up On A Drug Test?

It is a stimulant, but it has a different chemical make up than amphetamines. Medical News Today says that it should not show up on a drug test for amphetamines, however, there is still a need for more information. The best advice is to make sure that you are taking it under the supervision of a physician and always list it on your list of meds.

Most patients that become addicted or abuse Modafinil reach much higher than normal doses, like 1200 mg/day. Those doses are four to six times greater than normal with 200 to 400 mg/day being the normal range. While Modafinil does have the potential for addiction it is not something that is commonly sought after. Nevertheless, to a patient that needs 1200 mg/day, they are dependent on it and face a number of bad effects. It is mostly psychological and not physical dependence.

While Modafinil requires a prescription in the US, it is available via the internet and many children and teenagers acquire it to help them to study or cram for exams. Parents are not aware, and medical professionals are not involved, and the student becomes addicted and in need of intervention.

Signs of Modafinil Addiction:

Common signs of Modafinil addiction include: 

  • Excess thirsting
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Burning or tingling of the skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tight muscles or difficulty moving

Side Effects From Modafinil Addiction:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Diarrhea
  • Blisters
  • Peeling Skin
  • Mouth Sores

These can be in combination with other signs and symptoms common to addiction and addictive behavior.

Overdose potential with Modafinil increases when combined with alcohol and other drugs like opiates. Below are signs and symptoms of Overdose from Modafinil.

Overdose From Modafinil

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep
  • Nausea
  • Chest Pain or pounding Heart
  • Hallucinations
  • Nervousness or Anxiety

Addiction Potential And Stats

According to the FDA, Modafinil produces psychoactive and euphoric effects, alterations in mood, perception, thinking, and feelings typical of other CNS stimulants. Modafinil has been studied enough that it has been found that it produces psychoactive effects and euphoria similar to methylphenidate, a drug used to treat ADD. Modafinil should only be prescribed for twelve weeks, and then the patient reassessed before continuing with treatment.

As the use of Modafinil continues to rise due to illicit reasons, the number of those addicted will continue to increase. Since it is mostly psychoactive addiction the addict looks for euphoria and feelings of pleasure. This is brought about by the levels of dopamine in the brain. 

When It’s Time To Get Help

Addiction to Modafinil should not be taken lightly. If you suspect your child is addicted to Modafinil then you need to seek help immediately. Withdrawal effects are usually not serious but caution should be exercised, especially in cases of long-term addiction. Mental Health Daily lists the withdrawal considerations which are usually dose-dependent, time span, and other meds being taken.

The sooner you seek help for you or your loved one then the sooner treatment can begin. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include being more tired than usual, lower energy, fatigue, sleep problems, and difficulty focusing or concentrating. There is no set time as to how long withdrawal symptoms may last but it is usually from days to a few weeks. Some of the things you experience may just be functioning without the way Modafinil makes you feel and not true withdrawal effects.

Treatment For Modafinil Addiction

There are various treatment options for treating Modafinil addiction, but you must be willing to stop taking Modafinil and stick to the treatment regimen for the duration. Many behaviors like drug-seeking, develop, and must be dealt with as part of the program. The first step is withdrawal and detox. Never undertake withdrawal cold turkey, as that can be dangerous. You should always undergo any treatment under the supervision of a qualified physician or other professional, like addiction counselors.

Tapering and Detox

Part of the initial treatment is the withdrawal phase which overlaps with the detox phase. Tapering the dose of Modafinil over a few weeks is quite effective and decreases the chance of untoward withdrawal symptoms. The detox and withdrawal will be tailored specifically for each individual client’s needs. Detox usually combines nutrients, like vitamins with a special diet to help your body get back to its optimal condition, and prepare you for the next phases. Detox can be completed in a facility or outside. Often it is necessary to complete detox as an inpatient so you can be monitored for withdrawal effects or other serious signs and symptoms.

Other Treatment Modalities

After detox, you or your loved one will enter the counseling and therapy phase where the patient is assessed for risk of other mental health issues, history of family abuse, and how to cope with life without Modafinil. Some of the things covered in treatment include dealing with low self-esteem, social anxiety, and eating disorders. Stress factors and addiction triggers are dealt with so that the patient can learn what they are, and how to deal with them when they arise.

Depending on the cause of the addiction and the patient, other factors such as work-related stress and burnout are also covered. For patients like children seeking help with exams they are taught other methods for studying and how to avoid seeking drugs like Modafinil. The scope and range of therapy and rehabilitation vary for each individual, and all factors are taken into consideration as to age, length of addiction, cause, other meds., family history of abuse, and patient history of abuse, as well as other disorders and patient mental health.

Inpatient programs are available as well as outpatient, and often the patient may begin as an inpatient and later allowed to be treated as an outpatient. Whichever route is undertaken the patient’s safety and overall well-being are what ultimately determine if a patient may receive some or all of their treatment as an outpatient. The goal is the same: complete recovery and rehabilitation and living a sober free life.

Recovery And Prognosis

Part of any treatment program is the recovery phase and is often a long-term plan, in order to avoid relapse and re-occurrences of addictions and addictive behavior. Transformation Treatment Centers offers a holistic approach that includes every aspect of one’s life. We consider the environment, family, work, and social factors. Recovery ultimately depends on you the individual, but we are here to help walk you through the process of recovery and functioning in life, drug-free. Because a person becomes addicted to one substance it is more probable that they can become addicted to others. We want you to walk away from our program sober and stay that way.

You can find more information about modafinil or other substances of abuse and available treatments and programs at Transformations Treatment Center.

Don’t wait to get help! Contact Transformation Treatment Centers now or as soon as you discover you or your loved one has a substance abuse problem, with Modafinil. There is hope and it is waiting for you or your loved ones.