“How does Modafinil work? It’s not METH is it? I don’t want to end up a junkie!!!!” No, it’s not, so stop panicking. Modafinil is a safe, lab-tested, FDA approved therapeutic drug that is intended to improve your quality of life and help you overcome chronic tiredness, narcolepsy, ADHD, shift-work sleep disorders, mood disorders and various other problems, with minimal side effects. It’s not a street drug- it’s not cut with all manner of crap and filler- it’s not gonna wreck your health, relationships, finances or turn you into a gibbering, incapable mess.
Modafinil’s exact mechanism is still under debate but scientists believe it works by increasing dopamine in the brain, which is the body’s (neurotransmitter) reward hormone. Dopamine is released naturally in the body whenever people perform an action they associate with “good”. This may be comfort eating, winning the lottery, listening to a favorite song- you get the idea. Dopamine is a mild stimulant that increases connections and interactions between neurons- so basically, it makes your brain work more efficiently along paths associated with “good”.
Modafinil appears to block receptors that remove dopamine from the brain, allowing you to feel “good” (positive, uplifted, energetic, and enthusiastic) for the entire day- not just in bursts. In a kind of domino effect, the brain reacts to this change by producing extra serotonin, and increasting norepinephrine. The former can help the brain produce NEW neurons, helping it to stay fresh and functional- the latter hightens alertness and is responsible for the increase in wakefulness Modafinil users benefit from. Glutamate is also elevated- this plays a huge role in long-term creativity and new connections, helping an old brain learn new tricks 🙂
While there is a lot more complexity to Modafinil’s modus operandi, these are the most relevant and easiest-to-understand points for the average person.
Unlike street drugs, it is safe, effective and non-addictive. Researchers still don’t know everything there is to know about the human brain and many drug interactions. If (like me) you enjoy hard science and like to follow the latest neuroscientific research- how does Modafinil work is a question where the exact answer has a plethora of subtleties that are still being uncovered!