Modafinil vs Adderall: Life After the Switch (You Should Too)

Many people feel that some nootropics don’t do jack for them.

They try different ones and get excited.

Can’t wait to try the next thing which is said to boost focus, concentration, and even visual perception.

But then, something’s missing…

modafinil vs adderall

Yes, I get it. Some nootropics aren’t meant for everyone. Brain chemistry and all that.

Plus, not all nootropics works for healthy individuals. Some lack human evidence, and some only works on people with cognitive impairments.

So many people want to try something else. Modafinil and adderall are two popular pills used to crank up brain performance to get stuff done.

Maybe you’re one of those who wants to know which is better?


Modafinil VS Adderall

In this article, I’ll compare these two so you can know what sets them apart.

Modafinil and Adderall are central nervous stimulants (CNS) approved by the FDA to treat narcolepsy.

Adderall is also prescribed for ADHD. Not modafinil. But it’s proven to be useful for this condition as well. (1)(2)

Modafinil last for 8-12 hours and Adderall 11-13 hours.

Adderall is available as immediate release (IR) and extended release (XR). It’s cheaper, especially the generics.

Modafinil is only made in tablet form and sold under different brand names. Commonly known as Provigil, Modiodal, and Modvigil.


How Modafinil and Adderall Work

Adderall is a Schedule II classed drug, which means high potential for abuse that can lead to physiological or psychological dependence.

Modafinil is a Schedule IV classed drug, which means low potential for abuse and dependence.

Adderall stimulates epinephrine (adrenaline) norepinephrine, and dopamine. The adrenaline boost increases focus, alertness, and counteracts ADHD.

Modafinil stimulates more brain chemicals:

  • Orexin (Hypocretin)
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Histamine
  • Glutamate
  • Serotonin
  • GABA

This translates to nootropic benefits. The effects are not as potent as Adderall when it comes to ADHD. But Modafinil works differently than other amphetamine-like stimulants, which lowers the risk to develop drug dependency.

What Is Modafinil and Adderall Made Of?

Adderall and Modafinil

Even if Modafinil and Adderall share similar effects, they consist of different ingredients.

Adderall consists of a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

Provigil consist of  “Modafinil” and inactive ingredients including croscarmellose sodium, pregelatinized starch, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, povidone, and microcrystalline cellulose

Provigil vs Adderall: Medical Value

Medical value sets Modafinil and Adderall apart.

Besides narcolepsy and other forms of sleep disorders. Modafinil has shown to improve symptoms of depression in patients with Parkinson’s disease.(3)

Another study has shown that with individual behavior therapy it reduces cocaine craving. (4)

A spoonful of studies shows it has the potential to treat schizophrenia. (5) (6) (7)

Adderall can’t do these things. The medical value is only on narcolepsy and ADHD.

Potential Abuse & Addiction

Drugs that affects dopamine have risks that can lead to addiction. Or almost anything affecting this chemical can get out of control.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter your body produce on its own. It’s the “feel good” chemical, critical for the brain’s reward system.

Adderall stimulates norepinephrine and too much dopamine. The addicted brain demands higher doses of Adderall to feel alerted and be productive. Modafinil also affects your dopamine levels but in a friendlier way.

Modafinil also affects your dopamine levels but in a friendlier way.

Someone can abuse Modafinil, too, by taking high doses to induce euphoria. Euphoria is a medical condition that amps up your emotions such as happiness, excitement, and well-being. This is, therefore, a reason why someone can abuse Modafinil and become addicted.(

Euphoria is a medical condition that amps up your emotions such as happiness, excitement, and well-being. This is, therefore, a reason why someone can abuse Modafinil and become addicted.(8)

But it’s likely to happen with extremely high doses. Over 600 milligrams can cause mild euphoria.

Side Effects

Modafinil is safe with no adverse side effects for healthy individuals. That if the user use it with the right mindset.

Serious side effects can occur if the comes from a weird source or mistreated.

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Sore inside the mouth or lips
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart beat

The common side effects: headaches, backache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and dry mouth.

Allergic reactions include swelling, wheezing, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.

Avoid Modafinil if you have high blood pressure, kidney and/or liver disease, heart and cardiovascular issues, pregnancy, lactating, and allergic to other medications.

Adderall  has more adverse side effects, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Muscle twitches
  • Difficult breathing
  • Fear

The common side effects: stomach pain, insomnia, dry mouth, mood changes, weight loss, headaches, and irregular heartbeat.

Allergic reactions include swelling of your lips, tongue, face, or throat. Plus, difficulty breathing, and hives.

Which One Is Better for Studying?

Adderall and Ritalin are popular study drugs. But how you define what’s better for studying is up to you since there are some differences in this area.

There’s no evidence supporting ADHD drugs like Adderall improves school grades. (9)

Adderall can’t force the brain to learn and remember. The drug can only force the brain to stay sharp and alert, which is key for studying. For some this is enough.

A substance that improves learning capacity and memory is not present in Adderall.

You can improve learning abilities and neuroplasticity with nootropics that work on glutamate transmission and acetylcholine.

However, Modafinil can improve memory, learning, and decision-making. (10)(11)(12

Both Modafinil (Provigil) and Adderall enhance cognitive performance to sit down and learn. But if you want to improve learning abilities and memory, you can’t rely on Adderall.

If Modafinil is better than Adderall is up to you. Personally, I would get modafinil because it’s safer and can improve cognitive function.

Closing Thoughts

People who switched from Adderall to Modafinil says it’s better.

I agree with them because Modafinil never gave me side effects. Only pure focus and motivation to study and work.

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