Modafinil vs Adderall: Comparison of Effects, Benefits and Risks

adderall vs modafinil

Adderall was considered the king of all focus-enhancing drugs for a while. But then nootropics came on to the market and have grown in popularity recently.

The most popular nootropic, and in our opinion the best, is modafinil. Modafinil is in many ways similar to Adderall, but there are some key differences between them that you can’t ignore.

Those similarities and differences are the topic of today’s blog post.

Modafinil vs Adderall: FDA Approval

Modafinil is approved as a treatment for certain sleep-related conditions. In the U.S. it is sold under the brand name Provigil.

Adderall is used to treat many different medical issues including ADHD, but because I’m not a doctor, we won’t be discussing those here. In the context of this post, we’re looking at Adderall purely for its focus-enhancing capabilities.

The off-label use of either drug is not permitted by the FDA. Users who are discovered to be using modafinil or adderall to boost their cognitive abilities are, at least in theory, at risk of legal repercussions.

However, at least with modafinil, legal problems are basically unheard of in the U.S. and the western world in general. Some countries have even realized the value of the drug and make it easily available without a prescription.

It’s important to note that Modafinil Advisor does not recommend taking any drugs without consulting your doctor first.

That’s not just a legal disclaimer, it’s an important message for us.

Both modafinil and adderall are strong substances that need to be taken seriously. You might have contraindications you aren’t aware of yet, which is why a meeting with a medical professional is vital.

provigil vs modafinil

Provigil vs Adderall Effects

Modafinil Effects

Provigil (or other brands of modafinil) increases your focus, alertness and promotes wakefulness.

The effect is noticeable for the majority of people, although there are some documented cases of non-responders.

The effects of modafinil are noticeable, but compared to other drugs (e.g. alcohol) they are subtle. Modafinil doesn’t make you feel high or euphoric.

Modafinil gives you tunnel vision. You’ll become deeply focused on whatever it is you’re doing.

In most cases that’s seen as a positive, but you risk wasting considerable amounts of time browsing the internet if you aren’t careful while using modafinil.

Blending out the outside world while studying is good. While browsing Facebook, not so much.

Adderall Effects

Adderall used as a smart drug has similar effects although they seem to be considerably stronger. Again, the extra strength can be a positive or a negative.

If you need to get a lot of work done, staying awake into the early hours of the morning is helpful. But on other days, you’ll want intense focus during the day combined with the ability to sleep at night. For that, modafinil is again superior in our opinion.

Side note: Don’t take modafinil in the afternoon or you may experience problems sleeping. With a half-life of 15 hours, modafinil stays in your system for quite some time.

Adderall is far worse for keeping you awake and comes with other unwanted side-effects. Many users report a worrying increase in their heart rate and feeling somewhat jittery while on Adderall. This doesn’t seem to occur at any significant rate while using modafinil.

While modafinil seems to be quite safe, it is not recommended that you take it daily.

You can develop a tolerance to the drug. So while it might seem appealing to use modafinil daily, I can’t recommend it.

Why risk building a tolerance to modafinil when you can take it safely 2-3x per week?

For more information on the side-effects of modafinil (or lack thereof), read this post.

Adderall vs Modafinil: Addiction

The potential for addiction is one area where we see a large discrepancy between the two drugs.

Modafinil can cause a tolerance, but based on all of the anecdotal and scientific evidence I’ve seen, doesn’t seem to cause addiction.

Adderall on the other hand, puts you at risk of addiction if you misuse it. And remember, using Adderall for studying or improving your concentration outside of cases of ADHD, is misusing the drug.

To be clear, we need to distinguish between tolerance and addiction. Developing a tolerance means modafinil won’t have as strong of an effect on your anymore.

Addiction on the other hand, means you are likely to experience mental and physical withdrawal symptoms if you don’t take the drug regularly.

Addiction leaves you worse off than when you started. With a tolerance, the biggest downside is not experiencing the benefits of modafinil. You’ll end up in the same situation as if you never tried it.

Having said all of that, we believe that if you use modafinil smartly, the risk of developing a tolerance is minimal. And like I said, a tolerance to modafinil is a shame, but it’s not a threat to your health or happiness.

Closing Thoughts on Adderall vs Modafinil

We believe that modafinil is the smarter option for students, businessmen and anyone who wants to improve their mental abilities.

Modafinil offers an easy and safe way to become more productive without the risks associated with off-label use of Adderall.

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