Comparing Modafinil and Adderall: How Do They Differ?

For many business executives and students, they are often seeking ways to enhance levels of motivation and focus. Two of the popular options that are being researched, include both Modafinil and Adderall. These drugs are often prescribed to individuals who suffer from narcolepsy, as they promote wakefulness.

The same is true for ADHD patients, although only Adderall has been approved by the FDA for this purpose. However, psychiatrists are also able to prescribe Modafinil off-label. Both of these drugs most certainly have similar effects, but how do they differ?

The Effects of Modafinil and Adderall

While focusing on both of these drugs, the exact mechanism of action is not known. With that being said, researchers do know which areas of the brain these drugs affect. Since each individual is unique in terms of their brain chemistry, these drugs can also affect people differently.

The Effects of Modafinil

Modafinil effects different areas of the brain, all at the same time. This creates its unique stimulation effect. Researchers believe that Modafinil influences GABA, histamine, glutamate, and noradrenaline levels. Based on its mechanism of action, it creates a natural sense of wakefulness.

By taking Modafinil, users can also boost levels of motivation, helping to increase productivity. Users also report improved mood, as well as an enhanced ability to focus. This is why students and executives tend to seek-out its beneficial effects.

The Effects of Adderall

When taking Adderall, users influence serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This drug is commonly prescribed to those that suffer from ADHD, as it helps produce calming effects, so that an individual can focus on a task.

For those that do not suffer from ADHD, Adderall tends to have a stimulant effect, both physically and mentally. It has this effect on one’s brain chemistry due to the combination of four amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts.

The Benefits of Modafinil and Adderall

When taking a supplement, you will be drawn to the positive benefits in which it provides. How can it improve your mental and/or physical state? Now that we have focused on the effects of these drugs, let’s examine the benefits associated with both drugs:

The Benefits of Modafinil

Although Modafinil is a stimulant, it does not work in the same way that Adderall does. When taking Modafinil, users experience a greater attention span and higher energy levels. For individual with ADHD, Modafinil has the ability to naturally enhance overall concentration and focus.

Users often describe Modafinil as a way to experience clarity. It allows users to think more clearly, in a natural and non-speedy way. With that being said, some users have compared Modafinil as being ‘Adderall-lite.’ Meaning, the stimulating effects are lower in comparison to Adderall. This may preferable to you, as you do not want to take an overly stimulating drug.

The Benefits of Adderall

In comparison to Modafinil, Adderall provides a highly stimulating effect. This is due to its influence on various neurotransmitters, increasing activity in both the peripheral and central nervous system. When prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall triggers an adrenaline release.

Blood flow begins to increase, reaching both the users muscles and heart. This enhanced blood flow, boosts energy, allowing users to focus more effectively. When taking Adderall, users also experience an enhanced mood. In fact, some users report a feeling of euphoria.

What Are the Potential Side-Effects?

When taking almost any drug, there’s the possibility of side-effects. The side-effects associated with smart drugs like Modafinil and Adderall are especially worrying. When ranking medications based on the risk of side-effects, health officials rank drugs based on mild, moderate, or serious in terms of its side-effects. When deciding whether or not a drug will be controlled and prescribed, addiction potential is taken into account.

Side-Effects of Modafinil

While taking Modafinil, it is possible that you’ll experience a number of side-effects. This can include headaches, nausea, anxiety, and nervousness. Although more serious side-effects are rare, they can occur. These include shaking, trembling, a skin rash, and uncontrollable movements.

Although side-effects are possible, Modafinil does not have an addiction potential, which is highly positive. This is unusual for a wakefulness agent. Based on this, Modafinil is considered to be much safer than other stimulants. Based on these findings, Modafinil is being looked at as a possible replacement for Adderall.

Side-Effects of Adderall

While taking Adderall, similar possible side-effects can occur. These include nausea, anxiety, headaches, restlessness, nervousness, and dizziness. More serious side-effects include seizures, chest pain, tics, and hallucinations. Adderall can also cause one’s blood pressure to rise, causing heart palpitations.

Since Adderall is habit forming, continuous use can create a dependency. There is also a concern that Adderall will increase one’s likelihood of abusing other substances, since it is an amphetamine. This is one of the key reasons that individual with ADHD seek alternative treatment methods.

Summary: Which Option Should You Choose?

Both of these prescription drugs are used to treat narcolepsy, as well as those who have been diagnosed with ADHD. They both can be used for their powerful cognitive enhancing properties, as there is a fair amount of off-label usage for both Modafinil and Adderall. Those that would like to boost productivity or their ability to focus, can most certainly benefit.

When treating ADD/ADHD patients, doctors typically have these individuals try either Adderall or Ritalin, before they are prescribed Modafinil. This is due to the fact that Adderall produces more potent effects. For those that have tried both, many describe Modafinil as having an extremely potent cup of coffee, while Adderall is far more stimulating (producing greater effects on one’s ability to focus).

Yes, the effects of Adderall are more potent. However, once the effects wear off, users often feel burnt out or on edge. This is why many recommend taking Modafinil on consecutive days, decreasing the degree of burnout. Energy and emotional crashes are also less common.

When comparing these two drugs, it’s important to remember that both can produce side-effects. If you are able to achieve the results you’re looking for, Modafinil tends to create less negative effects. You should only be taking these drugs under medical supervision, based on a medical professional’s recommendation. If you cannot obtain Modafinil, than Adrafinil is an alternative which does not require a prescription.