What is Modafinil? You may have encountered it under the market name Provigil. Basically, it’s a stimulant drug, meant to keep your brain awake and alert when it doesn’t want to be. Medically speaking, under prescription, it’s meant as treatment for narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, such as having one’s sleep rhythm messed up due to working in variable shifts. However, it is also used recreatively, without prescription, and that can easily turn risky.

Using Modafinil for enhanced studying

In recent years, this medicine has seen a soar in popularity as a so-called “smart drug”, also known as nootropic, study drug, or smart pill. In this context, it is used as a non-prescribed stimulant, much like Ritalin and Adderall have been around for a while in the same role. Students around the globe are turning to it as a solution to the increasing academic demands that they’re facing.

They rely on these “brain boosters” to keep them alert long enough to achieve all the workload and social life requirements they’re facing, at the cost of sleep. Modafinil in particular is becoming the number one choice for many college students, even outside of the US, as you can see in their statements here.

They typically acquire it from online vendors, which is the first big risk taken – there’s really no way to ascertain what exactly you’re going to be taking. In addition, there’s the risk of side effects and overdose.

What are the side effects?

Modafinil has its own fair share of negative effects accompanying it, just like any other prescription drug out there – that’s exactly why you need a prescription for them. It serves as a safety radar. If you experience any repercussions from the medicine, your doctor can review your usage and adjust the dosage to get rid of the side effects.

Using it, or any other nootropic, recreatively means you don’t have access to that radar. If you experience side effects, you’re on your own.

If they turn severe, you are far more likely to wind up in a hospital, again on your own. You can get more in-depth information about the risks and benefits from this study: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0227818

The side effects can be roughly categorized into general and severe.

General side effects of this substance include: dizziness, eye pain, disrupted eyesight, appetite loss, constipation, gas, diarrhea, dry mouth, extreme thirst, bleeding from the nose, cramped muscles or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, insomnia, skin numbness, or a tingling or burning feeling on the skin. Be especially wary if any of these symptoms appear in conjunction with other signs of substance abuse or addiction.

The severe side effects of Modafinil are an irregular heartbeat, pain in the chest area, heartbeat irregularities, labored breathing, difficulty swallowing, blisters and mouth sores, skin peeling off, swelling limbs, face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat, hallucinating, and having suicidal thoughts.

Symptoms of substance overdose

Under prescription, doses vary widely, from 200mg to 400mg of Modafinil, depending on the condition being treated. When used non-medically, how do you know when you’ve had too much?

Overdose symptoms largely coincide with the severe group of side effects. Get off the pill and call emergency help if you experience any of the following:

Insomnia, hallucinating, accelerated or slow heartbeat, chest pain, nausea, anxiety, diarrhea, restlessness, confusion, or a body part starts shaking out of your control.

Either call emergency medical services, or your local poison control authority. Also, keep in mind that Modafinil should never be mixed with alcohol, and that it’s easily addictive.

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