29 Dec

Are you Impulsive? Modafinil Lowers Impulsive Tendencies, Study Says

Being impulsive killed Romeo, the star of Shakespeare’s greatest story. The dramatist knew humans better than anyone. Impulsiveness is the driver behind many of our greatest problems: Alcoholism, obesity, addiction, just to name a few.

But what does it really mean to be impulsive? And what does any of this have to do with modafinil? A recently-published study from the University of Warwick and the Imperial College of London reveal that modafinil helps to curb impulsive tendencies. This is big news. Millions of people deal with conditions related to impulsive behavior, and modafinil could be the cure.

The meaning of impulsive

You probably think of being impulsive as a general personality trait. An impulsive person does what they feel like doing, right? No second thoughts. While that’s partially true, it ignores the science behind impulsive behavior. The truth is right in the word.

An “impulse” medically speaking is just a signal in your brain. Neurotransmitters trigger impulses that guide your actions. Hunger is an impulse that tells you to eat, for instance.

Fortunately, as humans, we have some ability to control our impulses. You don’t stop whatever you’re doing and devour food the minute your tummy rumbles. But what if your brain gets a little wonky? What if those impulses get harder to control?

Impulsive disorders are extremely common

Addictions of any sort are forms of impulsive disorders. Whenever your brain likes what you’re doing it releases dopamine which is the brain’s way of saying “do that again.” Dopamine feels good! Most drugs that people abuse release heaps of it. That makes their impulses much stronger, and harder to resist.

But as your body becomes desensitized to the constant dopamine rush, you need more to feel satisfied. That’s why you see addictions gradually increase over time. Whether it’s alcohol, hard drugs, or even food, the price of resisting the impulse goes up as your body becomes physically dependent on the chemical in question. Withdrawal symptoms make quitting seem impossible. Really, the phrase “monkey on your back” describes the impulsive nature of addiction to a T.

Can modafinil make you less impulsive?

So naturally, if you wanted to help someone kick an addiction, you’d try to reduce the severity of their impulses. Make them less impulsive. Well, that’s precisely what this study did. It focused on obesity. In many cases obese people struggle to control their impulses for food. Sugar is highly addictive. It, like cocaine or heroin, releases dopamine in large amounts.

The study gave 60 men three different options: Placebo, Atomoxetine, and modafinil. There were 20 in each group. The only group that showed reduced impulsive behavior took modafinil.

Only healthy people were included in the study. The goal was to see if modafinil reduced innate impulsive behavior. If it did, they theorized, then it would be useful for people struggling with addictions.

Modafinil has already been proven to help curb cravings for methamphetamine addicts. Studies like this show that it reduces impulsive actions even in healthy individuals. That could make you much more productive. Instead of caving in to your impulsive desire to sit and watch TV or play a video game, maybe you can get more work done. Modafinil continues to find novel applications for all types of people, and we hope this study is just the start of what’s to come in 2017.

21 Nov

Is Modafinil Addictive?

With modafinil use on the rise in students around the world, researchers are stopping to ask an important question: Is modafinil addictive, and if so, should we be concerned?

Modafinil enthusiasts highlight several case studies that show that modafinil is not addictive, but some outlying examples have shaken that theory up. In addition, the studies that are out there have not looked at the whole spectrum of addiction, which means modafinil could be more addictive than we previously thought.

The different kinds of addictive

Broadly speaking you can classify addictions into two distinct categories. First, you have physical dependency. This is when your body literally craves the drug. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms appear with physically addictive substances. Nicotine and Caffeine are two of the most common physically addictive chemicals we consume on a daily basis. Think about that headache you get if you miss your morning coffee, or how you can become irritable and jittery without your cigarette.

But that’s not the only type of addiction out there. Substances can also be psychologically, or mentally addictive. This occurs when you simply want more of the drug because you like its effects, but don’t necessarily feel a physical need to take it. Cocaine, surprisingly, is not very addictive physically, but psychologically it can be very powerful. With mental addictions, users often dose in a specific set of circumstances.

The repeated use of a drug in a certain circumstance forms a habit that can be difficult to break.

Modafinil: Not physically addictive

Numerous studies have shown that modafinil has little to no potential for dependency. One rare case was found by Indian doctors, but the patient in that case had a psychotic breakdown years prior due to his father’s death. He reportedly took larger doses of modafinil than normal, which led to him developing dependence. Outside of this severe case, no study has shown a solid link between modafinil and physical addiction.

Modafinil can be psychologically addictive

Teenrehabcenter.org recently added a section about modafinil abuse in young adults. The problem appears to be growing as more teens compete to get high marks on exams and enter the best universities.

For some students, modafinil can be a game changer. Imagine taking a pill and suddenly seeing your performance improve. That rush of positive feelings can push you to take more. Before you know it, you can’t study or take a test without modafinil. This dangerous cycle is what modafinil’s psychological addiction looks like. Parents are concerned.

Preventing modafinil addiction

The key to avoiding psychological dependence is to use modafinil, or any drug, sparingly and in moderate amounts. Save it for emergencies. Don’t make it an every-day habit even though you might benefit from it in the short term. It’s important to be able to be you without a pill.

When you do take modafinil, keep it to the 200mg standard dose. The shreds of evidence that support modafinil being addictive always involve higher doses.

Modafinil is extremely well tolerated and, in general, people have nothing to worry about. But if used improperly there is a slight potential for abuse. Stick to the guidelines here and you should have no trouble with modafinil.


28 Sep

Can Modafinil Treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

One of modafinil’s most surprising potential uses is in its ability to treat addictions. Studies have strongly supported modafinil as an aid to recovering addicts, particularly for cocaine use. But what does the data say about methamphetamine?

The global meth problem

Meth might not be the first drug you think of when addiction comes to mind, yet in many countries it’s extremely prevalent. Around 18 million Americans have tried meth recently, and as many as some 12 million are regular users.

Meth is very popular in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. In Thailand, for instance, meth is so widespread that it can be found in common markets right next to vegetables and chicken, despite its illegality. In Australia where it is very difficult to get drugs, meth can go for over $300 per gram.

Recent Thai news reported that the government is contemplating decriminalizing the drug since users are afraid to seek help due to the strict drug laws currently in place. They also believe that using modafinil can help these addicts.

The multiple-Emmy-winning series Breaking Bad revolved around meth. Clearly meth is a global issue that has made its way into our pop culture.

Modafinil as a treatment for Meth abuse

Currently there is not much information on modafinil for meth addiction. The most recent study with positive results came in 2010 and was carried out on rats. The idea was to get rats addicted and then see if modafinil could reduce their regular use. The study was successful, although not enough to get the rats to stop taking meth altogether.

When it comes to actual human trials, the evidence is slimmer and less encouraging. The largest study comes from 2011 where 210 participants were placed into three equal groups of Placebo, Modafinil 200mg, and Modafinil 400mg. Over 12 weeks of monitoring the study found that neither group outperformed the others.

What they did find was that patients were not regularly taking their modafinil which may have been the problem. When they looked at all 210 participants, those who consistently tested positive for modafinil were likely to have longer runs of abstinence. So perhaps modafinil helped out.

Another 2009 study, this one on just 71 people, came up empty handed and found no evidence to support modafinil use.

Why modafinil might work

Critics of these studies point out that modafinil has potential that simply hasn’t been realized yet. Since modafinil is very safe and well tolerated, and non-addictive, it could be very helpful. On top of that, it improves cognition and mood, two areas that are dramatically affected by meth withdrawal.

Will we see Modafinil Clinics in the future? Probably not, at least not without greater funding into these studies.

14 Mar

Modafinil as a Cure for Addiction

When you think of modafinil you probably think about how it makes you focused or the energy it gives you, but what you probably don’t know is that modafinil can be used as a cure for addiction. Not what you’d expect, especially when that addiction is to stimulants like cocaine, but extensive research has shown this to be true.

Dr. Charles Dackis and some of his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania Treatment Research Center reported having a second successful study. The study conducted included 62 individuals (44 men, 18 women) that had ingested $200 worth of cocaine, if not more, within the past 30 days. Dr. Dackis had his patients come to the clinic twice a week for individual cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions (CBT) and provide urine samples three times a week during the 8 week study. Each week the patients were given a week’s supply of modafinil and told to take four 100mg doses a day, while the other half of the group received similar looking placebo pills and told to do the same. It was found that 33% of the patients were able to abstain from cocaine use for three weeks or more. There have also been other studies conducted separately showing that this can work for addiction to other stimulants like methamphetamine.

Modafinil was not the only factor in helping those patients to overcome their addiction, but it did play a large role. Dr. Dackis claimed that modafinil’s modulation of glutamate, an abundant excitatory neurotransmitter, may account for the striking effect. He goes on to explain that some of the patients that used again claimed that the effects of modafinil seemed to have removed the typical urge to redose that they had always felt before. Others told him that they had simply flushed the cocaine down the toilet, something Dr. Dackis says he has never heard a patient say in his 25 years of treating addiction. Modafinil reverses the cocaine-induced neurochemical disruptions of glutamate and of dopamine-containing neurons in the brain’s reward centers. Those two neurotransmitters are responsible in part for the good feeling that you get from drugs. Clinically, modafinil’s effects are in many ways the opposite of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, which usually include oversleeping, depression, poor concentration, and craving. Modafinil is also not addictive, making it a good neutral tool for this study.

The same team went on to do another study including 210 patients this time with the plan to test the efficacy of two different doses. They divided the groups up with the same exact structure as the previous study having patients visit twice a week for cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions and providing three urine samples a week, however this time Dr. Dackis and his team would be using doses of 200mg, 400mg, and a placebo for some that would be taken daily. They did not find a notable difference between the different doses, though when they looked at the results by gender it was found that there was a slight improvement with 400mg among men.

It is amazing to think that modafinil can not only provide the average person with great focus, wakefulness, and overall improvement on cognitive function, but that it can also help someone suffering from addiction that needs that extra push to get clean. You shouldn’t try to recreate that study on yourself since it was not just modafinil that helped, but also the CBT sessions that were conducted by professionals. If you feel that is something that would benefit you then please do it under the supervision and guidance of your doctor.