The misuse and abuse of either psychostimulant or cognitive-enhancing drugs in a non-prescription capacity is quite typical all across the world. The drive mainly is because of its ability to enhance memory, focus, and activeness.
Modafinil in specific falls in the cognitive-enhancing drugs category alongside others like methylphenidate and amphetamine. It is the most commonly used type among college students who finds it useful in enhancing their intellectual capacity. If you have heard of the ‘smart drug,’ yes, that it is – many students call it that.
The abuse and misuse, however, does not stop with students only. There quite a large group of other users who do so with no prescription. Despite research showing modafinil to be less addictive compared to psychostimulants drugs like amphetamine, still, it causes particular long-term effects, which could be severe at times. Hence, a doctor’s recommendation is often highly of essences to avoid any possible eventualities from its consumption.
What Is Modafinil?
Modafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance used in the treatment of sleepiness condition as a result of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, or shift work sleep disorder. It typically sells under its brand name, Provigil, and known to many as either “smart drug” or “wakefulness-promoting agent.”
Medically, the drug treats the following conditions:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Traumatic brain injury
- Shift-work sleep disorder
- Adjuvant treatment of depression
- Palliative or end-of-life care
So how exactly does it manage to control all these conditions? Let’s find out how this drug works.
How modafinil works in keeping us awake
To understand how modafinil keeps you awake, you need to know how it works.
- Modafinil increases levels of dopamine in the brain
Dopamine is an integral neurotransmitter present in our brain. It is in charge of controlling all processes relating to learning, emotional control, and focus. It also plays a vital role in our reward system; hence, it takes charge of our routines and habits.
Medical research reports on persons suffering from the attention disorders indicate that they have low levels of dopamine in their brains. Modafinil hence acts promptly in activating the release of a high level of this substance leading, causing the patient to have improved concentration span.
In this accord, therefore, some students, as well as other business executives, use it when they have a lot to cover that which needs a lot of concentration. It is mainly during exams preparation that some of these students use it to keep awake, boost their memory, and focus altogether.
- It controls the sleep-wake cycle
In each one of us, there is a ‘biological clock’ which determines and regulates when we fall asleep and when we wake up. It is natural. You need not tell your body, ‘go to sleep’ or ‘wake up it is time’ no. This clock is the sleep-wake cycle.
What modafinil, therefore, does to keep you awake is overriding this cycle. The drug contains a eugeroic compound, which keeps your brain awake. How does it do this? It triggers the release of orexin, a neuropeptide used by the brain to activate the nervous system responsible for keeping one awake and active.
Not forever that you will be going to bed at a specific time and waking up only at a particular time. Life keeps changing. This time you can be in a reluctant job next time you find another that requires you to come home late past your bedtime or wake up much earlier.
Or even sometimes it could be your commitments which require you to alter your sleeping hours. It is in such situations that some people, especially those who find difficulty adapting to such changes, use modafinil.
- Modafinil Increases Norepinephrine concentrations In the Brain
If you’ve faced danger before, what most likely happens? We either fight back or run away from it as fast as possible, especially if it is quick to harm. This swift defense mechanism triggers alertness in us. Our senses tend to focus more, and our entire body fills with energy.
Have you perhaps wondered where that comes from? Norepinephrine is always behind it all.
Its high concentration in the brain adds into your high blood levels of glucose, thus a lot of energy while shutting down, temporarily all other systems of less necessity at the moment.
Hence, you can either run faster or fight back more energetically. Modafinil influences the high-level production of this brain substance, and the result of it is that it keeps you more alert and more energetic. Tiredness may be the reason that sends you to sleep, however with high energy levels in your muscles and the entire body; no way sleep will come to you.
Like the rest of the cognitive-enhancing drugs, modafinil faces abuse and misuse, which finally causes ill-health side effects. These effects may not necessarily be out of addiction but from the chemical components on it. Its short-term effects may seem quite lucrative; however, in the long run, the chemical compound of the drug only interferes with your body’s proper functioning.
As a result of its use, some of the common side effects relating to it include:
- A little more severe ones comprise:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide)
Other rare effects consist of insomnia, chest pain, restlessness, nausea, and confusion. These may result mainly in cases of overdose.
From the confirmation made by varied health experts and medical researchers, modafinil is indeed a reputable solution when dealing with issues of sleepiness disorders. However, taking this knowledge advantage may be quite dangerous to you if you follow no health procedure. Modafinil may not be a distinctively addictive drug; however, its functionality may create some level of dependence in you. Worse could be its mild to adverse side effects.
Only take modafinil when and as prescribed by your doctor. It may have varied reactions among different people due to physiological differences; however, there are those typical positive and negative effects you are bound to face. Also, remember, not to share your dosage with anyone. That may emerge another health complicacy.