In recent years, drugs used for cognitive enhancement among students and workers have become popular. Marijuana is no longer as there are more available options for the go-to drug. Today we discuss two of the commonly abused prescribed medication, their effects, and possible dangers.

modafinil provigilmodafinil

The two can consider as stimulants but what sets them apart is that where Adderall increases dopamine levels that then stimulates the nervous system, modafinil decreases gamma-aminobutyric acid which is known to slow down the brain’s performance.


It is the most popular Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication from the amphetamines class of drugs.

Once inside the brain, it increases the effect of

Too high concentration levels are making it useful for combating fatigue. Also, it enhances the flow of the three to the synapses. But this state of feeling good makes you want more. This is how addiction and dependency on the drug arises.

It is a powerful Central Nervous System stimulant

Individuals who have used it often report feeling a euphoric high and pleasant feelings such as false confidence, focus, and attentiveness.

When taken orally it lasts for about 3-5 hours, giving the ‘high’ kind of feeling, and begins working in 10-30 minutes after ingestion.

You should not consume Adderall with fruit juices or vitamin C as this would affect the level of Adderall absorption into the body.
Modafinil Vs Adderall use

What is Adderall made of?

It contains a combination of two stimulant drugs,

Positive Effects

Greater alertness

  • The drug awakens the sensory functions and ones more aware of their surroundings.
  • Enables one to be more attentive, therefore for ADHD patients, it allows them to be more cognitive and pay attention to their environment not only to themselves.
  • Whereas for recreational users it enables them to work more efficiently.

 Increased focus

  • It increases one’s concentration on a particular matter. For ADHD patients, this reduces their hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Increase Stimulation

  • in dopamine levels enabling one to become more active.

Increased motivation

  • handling tasks becomes less complicated due to the increased stimulation and focus.

Cognitive Enhancement

  • improves memory, productivity and sharpens focus.

Greater sociability

  • high school seniors and some college kids are known to take the drug on social occasions as this boosts their self-image and confidence making it easy for them to socialize with others.

Mood Lift

  • enables the user to become more cheerful, removing the dull side of life.

Improved physical performance

  • commonly used by athletes for performance-enhancing. It reduces fatigue, masks pain and increases aggressiveness as well as strength.


  • Intense happiness, pleasure, and excitement. Often referred to as ‘Highness.’

Negative effects

Increased heart rate

  • Due to stimulation, the heart rate can rise to over 100 beats per minute. It can even lead to a heart attack.


  • high body temperatures as the liver try to combat the drug-producing more heat.


  • feeling that everyone is watching you and judging.

Reduced Appetite

  • It can lead to weight loss and slow down weight gain especially among children.


  • Constant worrying and fear. Therefore elevates the fight or flee response.


  • The user may become violent and hostile especially when the effects of the drug wears out. Verbal or even physical abuse may characterize this.

Increased blood pressure

  • increase heart rates increase the force of the blood in the arteries and veins, and this could lead to a heart attack.


  • due to its wakefulness capability, one has problems falling and staying asleep.


  • Adderall slows down muscles in the digestive tract leading to abdominal pains, constipation, and diarrhea.

Over abuse of it can lead to:


  • Unusual thoughts or behavior. Signs of psychosis range from paranoia, hallucinations, aggression to hostility.


  • involuntary contractions of muscles leading to involuntary body shaking.

Jaw clenching

  • it is an involuntary action and can cause severe headaches.

Difficulty remaining

  • Still one becomes restless.

A negative effect on cognition

  • long-term abuse or overdose has a severe impact on the brain and its functions.

Kidney failure

Kidney failure

  • especially from long-term use as the body tries to maintain the pH levels.

Circulatory collapse

  • a final effect from increased heart rates and blood pressure.

Cerebral hemorrhage

  • ruptured blood vessels in the brain which cannot withstand the pressure.

Signs of Adderall addiction

Needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects. Some people progress in their dosage consumption to get the euphoric high they want to get.
You are spending a lot of money on the drug. Addiction may even result in your lending from people for you to purchase the drug. Also if the prices rose, an addict would still buy at the high prices.
Take the drug with prior knowledge of its effects. You know you will feel worked out later, you realize you will become nauseated followed by stomach pains but you still take the drug. At this moment, you should seek professional help.
It is not being able to finish work without the drug. This is a sign of your dependency on the pill to tackle your work.
It has been unable to feel alert without the drug. If the drug is what completes you, then you are an addict. This is the scenario where it is the drug that makes you feel normal.

Withdrawal effects

Anxiety-nervousness, and worrying

which may affect how an individual behaves.


especially mental exhaustion and one would feel like they need the drug to overcome this state.


The user becomes less interested in some activities, feeling sad, low moods. It is especially if the individual had been dependent on the drug.

Greater appetite

Adderall is an appetite suppressant, and when one quits, their appetite increases significantly.

Sleepiness and sleeplessness,

This is a contradictory statement but one that is true. Adderall would eventually leave the user feeling tired and weak, but they cannot get their sleep.
There’s no cure for Adderall withdrawal, and one has to wait out for the effects of wearing.

Some risky combos with Adderall are

  • MAO Inhibitors
  • Tramadol
  • Psychedelics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Other Stimulants.

Modafinil (Provigil)

It is the most popular psychostimulant from the eugeroic class of drugs. A compound of adrafinil.
Eugeroics are used to promote wakefulness and alertness; therefore, modafinil is used to treat excessive sleepiness and sleep disorders.
It cures the disease but helps the patients stay awake.
Just like Adderall, modafinil increases dopamine concentration in the brain but it does this in a very different manner, it blocks the dopamine transporters from the brain leading to higher levels of it.
It also elevates hypothalamic histamine levels.

Wakefulness Mechanisms

  • Stimulates focus and attention.
  • Improves energy and motivation levels
  • It has fewer side effects as compared to Adderall and lower risk of addiction.
  • Used by ADHD patients, but FDA is yet to approve it for this purpose.
    It is safer for long-term use.

Approved for; narcolepsy, sleep apnea and people working irregular hours.
Some military personnel has been using the drug to stay woke in their day to day activities.

Positive effects

  • Mood lifts
  • Wakefulness
  • Cognitive enhancement
  • Improved task enjoyment
  • Greater motivation

Negative effects

  • Appetite reduction
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • A headache
  •  Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth

(All results having described in the Adderall effects)

Perceived to have a lower abuse potential than Adderall. It is because it has fewer stimulant effects.
Euphoria doesn’t exist with it.
It Improves memory and executive functions.
Once ingested, it starts working after about 20 minutes and would generally last for 6 – 12 hours.

Words of interest


Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. It often begins in childhood and can continue even into adulthood.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Excessive snoring would note it and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.

Modafinil and Adderall

Comparison of Modafinil and Adderall

Benefits patients are suffering from ADHD or narcolepsy.

  • Wakefulness-promoting agents. Improves focus and attention levels when taken by healthy people. Enabling one to study longer, therefore one ends up getting more work done.
  •  Some users have claimed that they have become more creative after taking the drug.
  • It is referred to as smart drugs to those who seek cognitive enhancement.

The use of Adderall and Modafinil for studying

The drugs mentioned above can keep you on edge for hours. They can enable you to finish on that assignment that has been a whole lot of trouble for you. You can finally sit and study for your exams. But there is one that is better than the other.
As seen from the effects and side effects, Modafinil would be a better choice to use when studying, and this is because:

1. It is safer than Adderall.

It is not strong enough to induce addiction and therefore would not lead an individual, in this case, a student, to be dependent on it.

2. It is just as effective as Adderall on cognition and mood.

The drugs are not only abused by studying but also for

Weight loss

  • It is because it suppresses appetite.

Athletic performance

  • athletes use drugs to counter fatigue.

Staying awake

  • to complete longer tasks.

As a recreational drug

  • some people use it to get a certain level of euphoric highness.

Do Modafinil and Adderall make you smart?

Just like any other stimulants, the drugs improve your self-confidence. This does not mean they make you smarter. what they do is that they make you think you are more intelligent. Adderall’s euphoric effect makes studying more pleasurable.

Benefits of the drugs on studying is that they increase alertness and focus. They also improve the executive function, ability to swift through new information and make plans based on it. This is not necessarily an improvement in performance. As proven by scientists, they have little effect on creativity and motor excitability though some users would describe otherwise.

Can modafinil and Adderall be taken together?

There has been a huge misconception that if one takes modafinil and Adderall together, they will get double the benefits. But that stands as it is, a misconception. If combined, it leads to over-stimulation which has adverse side effects. One may feel more nauseous, extreme headaches, anxiety among others. Prescribed combinations from doctors are what should be followed.

Why you should not mix Adderall or Modafinil with Alcohol.

Adderall and Modafinil are stimulants whereas alcohol is a depressant, but this does not mean that they cancel each other’s effects. Adderall dulls effects of alcohol, and this may make you consume more than you do.

This may, in turn, lead to alcohol poisoning and do you know the amount of damage it can have on your liver?

The combination can also lead to aggression and extreme disorientation.


No matter what effects these over the counter medication have on you, you should always consult a doctor or physician before their use. The two drugs are widely abused as compared to their medical prescription uses especially among college students and professionals with demanding jobs. Do remember that they are prescription drugs for a reason. Only YOU can reduce the harm that comes with un-prescribed drugs.