Modafinil For ADD/ADHD: The Ultimate Guide

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ADD/ADHD is a disorder which affects around 10% of young people in America today, especially young people ages 3-17. Over time, ADHD has become the name for ADD both with and without hyperactivity present, since ADHD can present as:

(a) The inability to pay attention
(b) Hyperactivity and lack of impulse control or
(c) All of these symptoms simultaneously.

Typically, males are diagnosed with this disorder more than females. Popularly prescribed drugs for ADHD are stimulant-based drugs such as Concerta, Ritalin, and Adderall. However, a new player in the market, Modafinil, is showing promise as a new non-amphetamine option for treating ADHD without risk of more serious side effects, and as of yet, no long term risks to the brain. You cannot say this about the typical stimulant and amphetamine based-drugs that have been used for years to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Desoxyn, Dexadrine, Vyvnase, and many others.

What is ADHD/ADD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), formerly called ADD, affects primarily children or teens but can lead into adulthood, and some individuals are not diagnosed until very late into their lives. Overall, ADHD is the most common mental disorder in children today.

Important to know, however, is that an individual may not appear “hyper” but can still have ADHD.

According to the CDC, there are 3 types of ADHD. They are diagnosed by the symptoms that are most prevalent in that particular individual.

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type

    With this type of ADHD, individuals may be highly disorganized and have trouble both putting their mind to a particular task and finishing it. They typically find it hard to follow directions, to pay attention to someone, to listen well, or to pay attention to detail.

  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

    With this type of ADHD, which is one of the easiest to recognize, individuals typically have trouble sitting still. Children may be constantly physically active, running and jumping around. They may talk too much, babble on, and can be very fidgety. One noticeable quality is that they tend to interrupt others and speak at inappropriate times. They also tend to injure themselves frequently and have more accidents than other children.

  • The Combined Type of ADHD

    In this type of individual, the symptoms of type 1 and 2 ADHD stand out equally.

Symptoms of ADHD

There are three groups of symptoms:

  1. Inattention
  2. Hyperactivity
  3. Impulsivity

Let’s talk a little bit about each of these symptoms and how they manifest themselves in visible behaviors.


With children, frequently it is teachers who alert a parent that their child is unable to pay attention for normal lengths of time. Today, teachers are very trained in recognizing the symptoms of ADHD in children and they are often key for helping to get children help for an ADHD disorder.

The term “inattention,” though, can have a host of symptoms in and of itself. With this aspect of ADHD, you might see:

  • Severe procrastination
  • Chronic lateness
  • Disorganization
  • Inability to focus and complete tasks
  • Messiness
  • Trouble staying on the topic at hand, whether it is chores or having a conversation
  • Easily distracted by noise or outside events that are typically ignored by others


Hyperactivity, particularly in children, may look different and present itself in different behaviors depending upon the age of the child. But these hyperactive symptoms, if they are going to present themselves, frequently do so some time before junior high / middle school.

Signs and symptoms of hyperactivity are:

  • Squirming
  • Fidgeting when seated
  • Always being in some type of motion, bobbing the leg, running, jumping, picking sores
  • Inappropriate behavior, frequently interrupting others or running when they’re being talked to
  • Inability to apply themselves to anything that requires attention and dedication—such as Lego art never completed, getting out their favorite toys and being distracted from them.
  • Trouble with quiet activities—in church or school, for example, you might see inappropriate behaviors manifest because the child cannot stay still or quiet.


Hyperactivity, particularly in children, may look different and present itself in different behaviors depending upon the age of the child. But these hyperactive symptoms, if they are going to present themselves, frequently do so some time before junior high / middle school.

Signs and symptoms of hyperactivity are:

  • Squirming
  • Fidgeting when seated
  • Always being in some type of motion, bobbing the leg, running, jumping, picking sores
  • Inappropriate behavior, frequently interrupting others or running when they’re being talked to
  • Inability to apply themselves to anything that requires attention and dedication—such as Lego art never completed, getting out their favorite toys and being distracted from them.
  • Trouble with quiet activities—in church or school, for example, you might see inappropriate behaviors manifest because the child cannot stay still or quiet.

Adult ADHD

Often, adults begin recognizing their ADHD after a history of failure at work, in social situations, in their attention- or lack of it- to chores in the home. Either way, left undiagnosed, ADHD can ruin ones’ quality of life and negatively impact the respect they could gain and the accomplishments they could achieve with treatment.

Adult ADHD Symptoms

With adult ADHD symptoms may present as:

  • Chronic messiness and disorganization
  • Depression
  • Frequent lateness
  • Impulsiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Recklessness
  • Frequent automobile accidents and injuries from rushing around (bumps, bruises, scratches)
  • Relationship problems and feelings of misunderstanding present on their partner’s side
  • Inability to both start on a task, to focus upon it without distractions, and inability to finish a task
  • Tunnel focus: a kind of focusing so hard on tasks (such as reading a book) that everything else seems to be forgotten and ignored (sounds, disturbances, someone trying to talk to them). **This symptom often confuses people about the child and may delay their getting help with their ADHD until late in life.
  • Problems with people in the workplace
    • An adult with ADHD may anger or irritate others because they interrupt and intrude upon people often.
    • Also, lateness to meetings and poor ability to pay attention are often mistaken by others as a lack of respect of oneself and pride in their work.

Current Treatments for ADHD

There are many drugs that are used to treat ADHD today, and all of them have assets and liabilities as well. The two most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall, but other medications are being experimented with, especially Modafinil, a drug created with the purpose of enhancing wakefulness in shift workers and persons with narcolepsy.
Medications today chiefly manage ADHD symptoms. There is no true cure for ADHD.
And some individuals benefit most from a combined approach of medication and therapy.
The following list of drugs for ADHD can help you talk to your doctor about what option may be right for you. 


There are many drugs that are used to treat ADHD today, and all of them have assets and liabilities as well. The two most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall, but other medications are being experimented with, especially Modafinil, a drug created with the purpose of enhancing wakefulness in shift workers and persons with narcolepsy.
Medications today chiefly manage ADHD symptoms. There is no true cure for ADHD.
And some individuals benefit most from a combined approach of medication and therapy.
The following list of drugs for ADHD can help you talk to your doctor about what option may be right for you. 


Amphetamines used to treat ADHD include lisdexamfetamine, dextroamphetamine, and amphetamine.

Brand names of these types of amphetamines include:

  • Adderall XR (generic available)
  • Dexedrine (generic available)
  • Dextrostat (generic available)
  • Dynavel XR
  • Evekeo
  • ProCentra (generic available)
  • Vyvanse

The most popularly prescribed of these currently is Adderall.

Dangers of Amphetamine Types of ADHD Drugs

Some of the many dangerous effects of amphetamine-based drugs include problems with the heart, specifically increased heartbeat and irregular heartbeats, urinary tract problems, potential kidney problems, and burning when urinating; hallucinations, tics, ringing or buzzing in the ears, shortness of breath, seizures, high blood pressure, unusual behavior, confusion, and chest pain, among others.

Less serious side effects may include: headaches, blurry vision, sleep problems of all kinds- including insomnia, agitation, restlessness, dizziness, dry mouth, unpleasant taste in the mouth, nausea, loss of appetite, bad breath, and vomiting.

Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)

Methampetamine is related to all amphetamines and drugs such as ephedrine. It also works by stimulating the Central Nervous System. It has not yet been determined how this particular drug aids in treating ADHD. Methamphetamine, of course, is very addictive and has so much negative press today because of illegal production of meth, that it is very difficult to get a prescription for Desoxyn today. It can reduce your appetite, increase your heart rate, cause heart problems, and increase your blood pressure. Other side effects include sleep problems, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, constipation, and weight loss. It is a very strong medication and can have serious consequences, so doctors frequently try this last in terms of medication unless they think the patient is so hyper that the amphetamine may calm them down. And Modafinil, interestingly enough, has been shows to decrease both cravings and withdrawal symptoms from meth, and may be a viable option to move to after a drug like Desoxyn or another methamphetamine-based ADHD drug.


Methylphenidate drugs, such as Ritalin, Ritalin LA, and Concerta (among other brands, which are listed below) are very popular in the treatment of ADHD. They way these drugs work is by encouraging the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine in your brain. It is also a stimulant. Most of these methylphenidate brands of drugs below come in immediate and extended release forms. It also comes as a patch under the brand names Quillivant and Daytrana. For your convenience, here’s a list of all brand names of methylphenidate:

  • Daytrana
  • Aptensio XR
  • Metadate CD (generic available)
  • Concerta (generic available)
  • Metadate ER
  • Ritalin (generic available)
  • Ritalin LA (generic available)
  • Focalin(generic available)
  • Quillivant
  • Methylin (generic available)
  • QuilliChew


Of these drugs, of course, Ritalin is the most typically prescribed drug for ADHD, with Concerta running a close second.


Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant prescribed for treating both ADHD and narcolepsy.

Side Effects and Drug Interactions

The most common side effects of Ritalin include:

  • headache
  • nervousness
  • dizziness
  • agitation
  • loss of appetite
  • anxiety
  • sleep problems (insomnia)
  • stomach pain
  • increased heart rate
  • weight loss
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • palpitations
  • vision problems
  • increased blood pressure
  • sweating
  • skinrash
  • psychosis
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • cold feeling in your hands or feet

Ritalin can interact with all kinds of medications, including blood thinners, cold and allergy medicines, antidepressants, any diet pills, and even caffeine. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use.  Ritalin might also be dangerous for pregnant and nursing women. So, check with your doctor for all of these issues first.

Same Side Effects, Different Name

Concerta is a drug that is frequently prescribed for attention deficit accompanied by hyperactivity and impulsivity present. It is so much like Adderall that users say there’s really no difference between these two drugs, except that Adderall is more well-known and marketed harder.

Therapy and Other Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments for ADHD

Research shows and doctors will tell you (especially when treating children) that the best approach for treating ADHD is a combined approach of both therapy and mediation.

The kinds of therapy that can be used to treat ADHD include:

Special Education in School

Special education enhances a student’s ability to focus and helps facilitate learning in school. It also can address some of the behaviors the child has been displaying due to their disorder and can correct these for good. Many children are in these ADHD classes today, as ADHD is being so hyper-diagnosed today (with up to 30% of children being diagnosed with this disorder). Special education for the ADHD sufferer gives them a structure and sense of routine they typically need badly, and these good behaviors can last a life time.

Behavior Modification

This form of treatment is especially helpful for those suffering from ADHD to help instill new, good behaviors to replace old ones such as procrastination, lack of finishing a task, etcetera.

Psychotherapy and Counseling

Counseling and psychotherapy can help sufferers of ADHD to learn to process their emotions, counter the stigma of the disorder, and to give them someone to really open up to about their daily struggles and family issues resulting from this debilitating disorder. It also can enhance self-esteem.

Social Skills Enhancement

Individuals suffering from ADHD often have poor social skills and they cannot control this. They often interrupt, intrude, and cannot wait their turn. They often have issues and fears about sharing. Social skills training with a therapist can help correct some of these behaviors – which are just as hard on the child/adult as they are on others.

The Downsides of Current Pharmacological ADHD Treatments

There are many potential dangers to currently prescribed drugs for ADHD. Some people do not need to lose weight, yet the drug can still cause great weight loss. These drugs have a powerful effect upon the appetite, which makes them popular, especially with teens with eating disorders. Watch out for Adderall and Ritalin use if your teenager has bulimia or anorexia nervosa.

More dangerous effects are that the brain and body both become dependent upon these drugs and they are highly addictive as well.

Also, most of these drugs cause massive problems with sleep, never allowing the individual to get a good night’s rest or a nap, even once they have adjusted to the drug.

Other common side effects are bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth, heart, kidney, and liver problems, irritability, being quick to anger, and exacerbation of other mental health issues, especially tics or hallucinations.

Other issues:

  • No FDA approved ADHD drug has been found yet to help with higher executive functions (except Modafinil, which has been shown to enhance higher executive function in the brain).
  • These types of drugs are both stolen and sold by children, leading to legal complications
  • Effects are short-term

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil (Provigil) is one of the most successful narcolepsy medications to be developed thus far. What Modafinil does is enhance wakefulness without the hyper-stimulant and jittery effects of other ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. Both Modafinil and its pure form, Armonafidil (Nuvigil), have yielded high success rates for patients with all kinds of neurological disorders including narcolepsy, ADHD, and excessive sleepiness and fatigue. The beneficial thing about Modafinil is that it has few side effects and no evident risks of long term effects on the brain that have been discovered so far.

Modafinil has also shown great potential for managing the symptoms of ADHD such as inability to focus and becoming easily distracted when working. Because it calms the individual while enhancing focus, for those suffering from the school and work-inhibiting effects of ADHD, Modafinil is proving highly effective.

In fact, Modafinil is becoming a popular choice for doctors for narcolepsy, over-sleepiness, and ADHD because

  1. Modafinil doesn’t produce the extreme highs/lows of typical ADHD drugs
  2. Modafinil is not addictive
  3. Modafinil has few side effects, the typical ones being mild loss of appetite or nausea, or occasional acne.

In fact, the most common side effects with Modafinil and Armonafidil are headache, dry mouth, and mild nausea.

Modafinil: A Potential Treatment for ADHD/ADD

Modafinil is showing great potential for treating and managing the symptoms of ADHD. There is no cure for ADHD, you can only treat its symptoms. Modafinil is also a wonderful substitute for addictive amphetamines that are often prescribed to treat ADHD. Today, many psychiatrists are prescribing Modafinil for ADHD, even though it has not yet produced the overwhelmingly positive effects reported for stimulants and amphetamines. Most doctors believe that, over time, Modafinil may come to be as highly regarded for treating ADHD as drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.

“modafinil may well deserve the title of the first well-validated pharmaceutical ‘nootropic’ agent”Battleday and Brem (2015)

The Benefits of Modafinil for Treating ADHD

Modafinil is proving to have many beneficial effects beyond enhancing wakefulness. For example, doctors, lawyers, and executives love that they can sleep little and accomplish more without experiencing the kind of draining fatigue that frequently accompanies lost sleep. They have even tested Modafinil on pilots in the Army, who actually performed 60% better when taking Modafinil while sleep deprived. This is how Modafinil first got popular as a performance and cognitive enhancing nootropic.

Scientific Studies on the Benefits of Modafinil

  • Energy

    Modafinil enhances wakefulness and thus, the output of mental energy as well. Many people with ADHD have symptoms of hyperactivity and yet are often tired and suffer from low energy. This medication helps to stimulate wakefulness.

  • Productivity

    The increased energy and wakefulness associated with Modafinil has led to reports of enhanced productivity, improved study habits, and more projects getting done in general. Students say it gives them a laser-like focus they can maintain for hours to work on long projects.

  • Alertness

    Modafinil promotes both wakefulness and alertness, which is why it is becoming such a popular nootropic and preferred drug to treat symptoms of a lack of alertness in ADHD sufferers. It has also been shown to improve vigilance toward accomplishing goals and completing tasks, which is perfect for people with a tendency to procrastinate and that are easily distracted.

  • Cognition

    In individuals with attention-deficit problems, many struggle with low triggering of the executive functions of the brain. This is called “low arousal” but it does not mean sexual arousal. Cognitive arousal is when the brain kicks in, producing more high frequency brain waves so that hard concertation and improved performance on cognitive tasks can happen.

  • Enthusiasm and Vigilance

    One of the more fascinating things about Modafinil is that it motivates people to perform mental tasks, such as reading, writing a paper, getting their grading or paperwork done for work, and writing computer code with an enhanced sense of vigilance and motivation to complete these tasks and complete them well. Modafinil increases arousal in the nervous system, getting synapses to rapid-fire, resulting in improved cognition.

  • Focus

    It should be noted that not everyone may experience an increase in focus while on this medication, but most do. Most people will notice a reduction in ADD and ADHD symptoms, and most people report that they are able to focus better as a result of reductions in their symptoms of hyperactivity.

What Type of ADHD Benefits Most From Modafinil?

Modafinil has shown potential to help people with any of the three types of ADHD, and it does not work well with any one subtype of attention-deficit disorder. All forms of ADHD have revealed improvement in behaviors, focus, and paying attention with Modafinil.

Is it Easy to Get Modafinil Today?

Well, it depends upon whom you ask and talk to. Some doctors do not mind prescribing this drug as long as an individual works second or third shift. Of course, narcolepsy requires sleep studies, typically, to prove the diagnosis. Also, many people who are unable to afford Modafinil or get a prescription are experimenting with searches on Modafinil forums such as Reddit, erowid, and to learn more about this.

Will Insurance Cover Modafinil?

Patients have reported being able to get prescriptions covered by insurance companies, even with Medicare or Medicaid. Sometimes the company will only cover the Nuvigil form of the drug. Also, you have to go through an approval process with Medicare and Medicaid. For example, your physician has to contact Medicaid/Medicare for approval and then send both the prescription and the approval to the pharmacist. In fact, more and more, insurance companies are beginning to cover different forms of modafinil, such as Nuvigil, Provigil, or generic Modafinil, so contact your insurance agent, because this drug is extremely expensive unless you have a prescription or find a trustworthy online supplier, and then it runs about 2 dollars a pill. Prices are only expected to increase as demand increases with more Modafinil being prescribed every day.

Do Doctors Prescribe Modafinil for ADHD/ADD?

There are many doctors who strongly believe in prescribing Modafinil for ADHD because not only is it effective, it also lacks the addictive potential of other commonly prescribed ADHD medications. So you may need to try several doctors, but more and more, doctors who are tired of prescribing addictive drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall are turning to Modafinil as a first line of defense for ADHD, to provide ADHD patients with a safer drug option than methamphetamines and amphetamines.

As Mental Health Daily reports, “Many psychiatrists have prescribed their clients Provigil as an alternative means to treat attention-deficit disorders. Although the rates of success may not be as staggering as amphetamines, Provigil has proven itself to be an effective treatment option.”

So psychiatrists may be one way to approach the problem of FDA approval for prescription, especially if there is a problem with excessive sleepiness that is either endangering the individual or others or inhibiting their productiveness at work or school.

Will the FDA approve Modafinil for ADHD/ADD Use?

It will take more research into the beneficial effects of Modafinil for alleviating the symptoms of ADHD for this to happen. As of yet, studies are proving more positive of Modafinil for promoting wakefulness and cognitive enhancement, not alleviating all of the symptoms of ADHD. However, many people in the medical community believe FDA-approval for the drug as a treatment for ADHD is on the horizon, as new studies continue to emerge that report positive effects for treating ADHD.

How is Modafinil Used Today?

Modafinil is the number one prescribed drug for narcolepsy and other disorders related to sleep, such as sleep difficulties in second and third shift workers and persons who suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness.

Off-label, users are excited about the potentials of Modafinil as a smart drug and cognitive-enhancement tool that can both promote wakefulness and enhance cognition, memory, mental performance enhancement, and higher brain function, without causing the jitters, hyperactive feeling, stress, racing heartbeat, anxiety, and risk of dependence that are a major risk with other ADHD drugs.

Because of Modafinil’s abilities to promote wakefulness while enhancing focus, we are seeing a whole new popularity of this drug for people with careers in Silicon Valley to semi-truck drivers and students at universities worldwide.

Modafinil and Safety Issues

As of yet, doctors have not found any negative long-term consequences of using Modafinil. As Barbara Sahakian, a neuropsychology professor at Cambridge University, notes “The main problem is that there are no long-term studies of safety and efficacy in healthy people. Without safety studies, we do not know that Modafinil is safe in the long-term for people to use” (qtd. In Linn). Furthermore, in high doses, there could be a chance of cardiovascular risks.
The chief risk of Modafinil today is buying prescriptions for the drug online. Since the drug is legal in many countries, we are not (yet) seeing the kind of abuse of prescriptions (filling them with other, potentially dangerous substances) that we do with pain pills and anti-anxiety medications, where often you don’t know what you are buying.

Modafinil: Is it Easy to Get a Prescription?

It is difficult to get a prescription for Modafinil without a justifiable medical condition that would prompt a doctor to write a prescription for it. Currently, Modafinil is not FDA-approved for ADHD. So one would have to have a viable condition, such as narcolepsy or sleep disorders related to shift work, to obtain a prescription. However, if one has combined conditions, such as ADHD and narcolepsy, doctors are more likely to write a prescription for this drug. Also, a doctor might certainly prescribe Modafinil for its wakefulness promoting effects in individuals prone to excessive daytime sleepiness (to the point that it becomes difficult for you to perform routine and necessary tasks such as driving). With narcolepsy, of course, you cannot simply tell your doctor you are narcoleptic. Your doctor will have to determine if you are through sleep tests or hypocretin testing.

Modafinil and Dosage

Modafinil is typically prescribed in one 200 milligram dose once a day. Most individuals take this early in the morning, so it will not interfere with sleep at night. Sometimes, sleeplessness occurs anyway for a time, until the individual adjusts to the medication.

If you miss a dose, doctors highly recommend that you do not take a missed dose that day. Wait until the following day and dose normally.

Some people experiment with breaking the 200 milligram dose into two 100 milligram doses, but most find if they do that and take the second dose too late in the day, it does interfere with sleep.

 Adderall (amphetamine)Provigil (Modafinil)Ritalin (Methylphenidate)
MechanismCatecholamine releasing agent, weak reuptake inhibitor of dopamine (Ki = 100nM), norepinephrine (Ki = 40-50 nM), and to a lesser extent serotonin (Ki = 1.4-3.8 uM), vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitor, weak Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitorWeakly inhibits the dopamine transporter (DAT), norepinephrine transporter (NET), enhances histamine and orexin release, increases the glutamate/GABA ratio in hypothalamic regions and other brain regions.Methylphenidate's mechanism inhibits catecholamine reuptake, primarily as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Methylphenidate blocking the dopamine transporter and norepinephrine transporter, leading to increased concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine within the synaptic cleft.
IndicationsADHD, narcolepsy, obesity, depressionExcessive daytime sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, or obstructive sleep apnea; ADHD (off-label), disorders of fatigue (e.g., fibromyalgia)
Off label nootropic
ADHD and narcolepsy. Used off label as a smart drug
Subjective EffectsEnhances arousal, motivation, goal-oriented behavior, focus, task salience, and moodPromotes wakefulness, mood elevation, arousal and concentrationImproved concentration, controls over-fidgeting, controls anxiety, enhanced self-esteem, improves focus and attention
Evidence of cognitive enhancementStudies show cognitive enhancing effects. However, Adderall has also shown to enhance cognition at the expense of creativity. Modafinil enhances vigilance, working memory, impulse control, sustained attention and other cognitive parameters in healthy controlsResearch shows that in normally prescribed doses, Ritalin can improve memory, executive function, and attention-related tasks with some risk of brain plasticity.
Safety and RisksModerate risk of dopamine-related neurotoxicityLow risk of glutamate-related neurotoxicityAs of 2016, little evidence of neurotoxicity
Risk ReductionSee this post for [more information about amphetamine harm reduction]( and other NMDA-antagonists can mitigate neurotoxicity risksNo information on this.
Common side effectsHeadache, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, feeling restless, irritable, or agitated, insomnia, dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, hair loss, loss of appetiteHeadache, dizziness, nervousness or agitation, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, or dry mouthNervousness, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, weight loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or headache may occur.
Standard dose5-20 mg100-200 mg20-30 mg. daily
Half-life10 hours15 hoursApproximately 3.5 hours

Modafinil: Comparison to other Commonly Prescribed ADHD Drugs

Ritalin and Adderall are still the most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD.

Modafinil versus Adderall

Comparing Modafinil and Adderall, for example, both drugs are used for patients diagnosed with narcolepsy by promoting wakefulness. Both are used commonly for smart drugs by executives, professionals, and students trying to boost performance, enhance focus on work and assignments, and to allow them to work longer on tasks without needing much sleep.

Both drugs are also used for the treatment of ADHD, but only Adderall has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD- not Modafinil, as of yet.

Overall, Adderall seems to more effectively treat the symptoms of ADHD, but with risk of addiction, dependence, and more negative side effects that Modafinil does not possess.

In fact, this study reveals that Modafinil works just as well if not more effective than Adderall in the treatment of ADHD.

Modafinil Versus Ritalin

Like Modafinil, Ritalin has been used for decades now in the treatment of narcolepsy, and is FDA approved to treat ADHD as well. Ritalin is intended to address ADHD symptoms, by basically quieting the mind down so that individuals can focus and pay attention longer. Because of these similarities between Modafinil and Ritalin, many physicians are turning more often to Modafinl to treat both ADHD and narcolepsy because it is not addictive and you don’t build up a tolerance to it like you do with most strong stimulants like Ritalin and other methylphenidate drugs.

Ritalin works differently than Modafinil on the brain. Ritalin enhances wakefulness by stimulating the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine and neurotransmitters that create spikes of energy. These spikes can be addictive to Ritalin users, who come to depend upon this amphetamine effect upon the body and brain. The same concerns have been expressed about Adderall XR and Concerta as well.

In contrast, Modafinil works by releasing histamines in the brain that affect the sleep regulation system, stimulating alertness and concentration and improving cognitive function as well. This is why it is not only popular for ADHD sufferers but anyone wanting enhanced concentration, productivity, wakefulness, and improved focus as well.

Here’s a handy chart comparing Adderall, Ritalin, and Modafinl: their dosages, effects upon the brain, and other aspects:

User Experiences: Modafinil and ADHD

I had slacked for 2 of my university years when I discovered Modafinil and its big brother Nuvigil. After taking it I was finally able to motivate myself. Thanks to it also being a wakefulness promoting agent, I was able to stay solidly glued to my work for 24 hours and another time 27 hours for two super important projects.

I didn’t realize how bad my ADHD was until I switched from dex to modafinil. I felt more naturally alert compared to dex, but it really screwed up my sleep (unlike dex) – I had to take a break from it every 7 days just to get one night of decent sleep.

I thought it was really good– It helped me focus, helped me wake up, and so on. I don’t remember any noticeable side-effects.

Wasn’t great for focus, but it allowed me to focus more easily by cleaning the fog and allowing me to wake up. I think this might feel like regular people feel [who don’t have ADHD] when they wake up.

The effects of the drug as I perceived them are all positive: I am a better conversationalist. I have more confidence and believe in myself and my ideas more strongly. I am way more motivated to work. A 200 mg. dose, for me, lasted about 12-15 hours.

I started using Adderall in college to help me balance my workload and social life, but I switched to Modafinil after hearing all the bad press about Adderall as very similar to meth and found many of my superiors in the company I was working for to be using Modafinil for performance enhancement. Modafinil has provided the focus and energy that Adderall provides but without the side effects. Highly recommended.

Modafinil is quite useful and I have not experienced habit forming properties; this was a problem with all other ADHD medications I have been prescribed over the past 10 years. Although I also tried Strattera for three months prior to my starting Provigil. My only issue is that so far I have only been able to receive 200mg which only helps me until afternoon. I am in need of a large enough prescription so I can have an afternoon dose. Hopefully somehow my insurance can become convinced that this is necessary for my health.

Source Quantity Modalert 100mg (SUN) Modalert 200mg (SUN) Modvigil 200mg (HAB) Wakalert 150mg (SUN) Armodafinil
MODAPHARMA 30 NA 70 54 66
MODAPHARMA 60 NA 116 90 116
MODAPHARMA 90 NA 155 116 155
MODAPHARMA 180 NA 230 190 230
MODAPHARMA 300 NA 300 270 300
DUCKDOSE 50 NA 80 75 90

The Top ADHD Resources



    (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is non-profit, nation-wide and popular organization that works to improve the lives of those suffering with ADHD. CHADD provides education and support for individuals and their families that suffer with this debilitating disorder and strives to promote the cause of ADHD sufferers throughout America. CHADD sponsors the National Resource Center on AD/HD, which is funded by the CDC and has plentiful information for anyone interested in learning more about ADHD and studying the science behind this disorder.


    A wonderful resource for ADHD/ADD that is full of helpful information on ADHD, just about any topic you might want to read about. is produced by the New York Times company as well.

  • ADD Resources

    a fantastic resource for ADHD education and resources and is a non-profit resource as well. It does require a small membership fee to access some information and it uses these monies to continue providing information to the public. It has an extensive library of helpful content on ADHD written by medical professionals and teachers who work with children and students with ADHD. It also has links to workshops and conferences for sufferers of ADHD and their families.


    A wonderful resource for sufferers of ADHD and their families, providing answers to all kinds of questions about ADHD for children to adults.



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