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Modafinil Addiction

This entry was posted in Addiction, Antidepressant on by .

Last Updated on May 30, 2021 by Carol Gillette

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Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Diane Ridaeus Published May 13, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

An overview of effects on the job, side effects, treatment help, alternatives, tapering offered at Alternative to Meds Center.

Modafinil Addiction

Any time a person regularly takes a drug that alters how the brain functions, like modafinil, (Alertec), they put themselves at risk of modafinil addiction or dependence. This universal fact remains true whether one’s physician has prescribed the drug or whether one has found other sources for the drug. In some countries, modafinil is available without a prescription.

modafinil alters dopamine College students have been inundated with a lot of hype about modafinil being the drug of choice for staying up all night cramming for exams or writing vast tomes of backlogged writing assignments. These drugs are nick-named “smart drugs” which makes them seem like a magical enhancement drug for students. They are no such thing. Taken regularly, they most definitely can be addictive and can ruin cognitive ability, memory, physical and mental health.1

Studies show that modafinil doesn’t raise IQ or make you smarter. But if you are sleep-deprived, it will force you to stay awake and alert despite lack of sleep. This is because the drug, like other stimulants, blocks two major neurotransmitters. This floods the nervous system/brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. If you continue taking it every day for an extended period of time, there are some definite downsides. Eventually, the body/brain/nervous system will become deficient in these neurotransmitters. You can find more about these topics in the section about side effects, below.

Modafinil – Effects On the Job and in the Work Place

modafinil sleepinessSome take modafinil for a condition called “narcolepsy,” or daytime sleepiness. Obviously, falling asleep at work could present critical problems on the job, including safety. For example, an airline pilot can’t fall asleep at the controls, and a truck-driver can’t doze off at the wheel. A jet-lagged traveler may find their daytime meeting impossible due to the fatigue.

There are holistic programs that aim to discover the cause of daytime sleepiness and fix the root cause. This would make artificial stimulants unnecessary. Alternative to Meds Center has been working with clients to solve these problems for many years, with great success.

Good quality sleep is one of the most important factors allowing for mental clarity, alertness, and energy. There are many alternative treatments for sleep issues that don’t involve addictive or invasive drug-taking. You are invited to contact us directly to find out more about effective alternatives to modafinil for improvements in daytime wakefulness, and for better quality sleep.

Modafinil – Know the Side Effects

modafinil side effectsOf concern, modafinil side effects can cause havoc, and even life-threatening reactions such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and others.2 Even before habitual use causes dependence or addiction, side effects from the drug can reportedly include:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Nausea, loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Insomnia

Less common side effects can include these:

  • Tremors, shaking
  • Modafinil-induced psychosis
  • Anorexia
  • Vertigo
  • Liver damage, multiple organ disruption
  • Tardive dyskinesia, especially in the facial muscles, mouth, and jaw
  • Paresthesia, a burning, crawling or tingling, numbness or pins and needles sensation of the skin
  • Ulcers
  • Hallucination, altered perceptions, paranoia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tachycardia (racing heartbeat, pounding heartbeat)
  • Rashes, including life-threatening Stevens-Johnson Syndrome requiring immediate medical intervention.
  • NOTE: these rashes can become permanently disfiguring or disabling even after discontinuing the medication.3
  • and many others.

Modafinil Addiction Treatment Help

finding root cause at atmcOf course, where one has become dependent on a drug to stay awake, most likely sleep issues will need to be resolved to be able to come off the drug successfully. Modafinil tapering can be made easier by utilizing modafinil alternatives (drug-free) for wakefulness. But, most importantly, we focus on discovering and correcting root causes for daytime sleepiness, insomnia, low energy, sleep apnea, and other issues of concern.

Therefore, allergies, diet, accumulated neurotoxic material, psycho-social, and many other areas can be checked and resolved using non-drug-based methods. The transition to drug-free can be made tolerable and eased using the correct choices for treatment protocols. Testing and other assessments are used to evaluate the best treatments for each individual upon entry to the program.

Please contact us at Alternative to Meds Center for a thorough overview of the protocols, testing processes, and treatments used in our health-focused, evidence-based modafinil addiction treatment programs.


1. Mariani  JJ, Hart CL, “Psychosis associated with modafinil and shift work.” AM Journal of Psychiatry [INTERNET] 2005 [cited 2020 May 12]

2. FDA SAFETY ALERT MODAFINIL/PROVIGIL FDA [INTERNET] Drug label information 2007 Oct [cited 2020 May 12]

3. Govt of Canada Recalls and Safety Alerts Bulletin “New warnings regarding ALERTEC (modafinil) and serious rash, allergic reactions, mental health problems – For Health Professionals.” Health Canada [INTERNET] 2007 Dec 21 [cited 2020 May 27]



This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Modafinil Addiction
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