Citation: EF 1610. "Two Years and Zero Regrets: An Experience with Modafinil (Modalert) (exp45423)". Erowid.org. Jun 29, 2006. erowid.org/exp/45423
I started taking modafinil in response to increased pressure from school and my unfortunate habit of chronic procrastination. I ordered doses of 100mg from an online place, and got an Indian version('modalert') shipped to me internationally from somewhere.
The doses arrive in 10x blister packs made out of thick foil. Quality has always been very high.
I've never taken any other illegal substances, so sorry, I don't have any analogies I can use to describe my experiences with modafinil. There are two different kinds of experiences: I use it to keep from feeling sleepy, and I use it to 'think better' during a normal day.
When I use it to keep from feeling sleepy, the best way I can describe the experience is that it simply reduces my brain's ability to feel sleepy. All the other sleep deprivation effects are there, and I'm fully aware of them when I use the drug. I just don't feel my eyelids drooping. Sometimes I'll still get the urge to crawl into bed when I'm extraordinarily sleep-deprived, but modafinil makes it easier to push those feelings aside if I really need to.
My usual schedule is to take 100 mg when I realize I need to stay awake, then one every 6 hours, then every 4 hours as my endurance is tested. I try to predict when I will get sleepy, because the pill takes a while to kick in; say an hour if I haven't eaten anything. I'm not always right, and if I take it too late, the sleepiness overwhelms me. Then I have strange, vivid dreams as the modafinil does whatever it does while I'm asleep.
After a while, the increased need for sleep must be countered by an increased dosage, or I do start to feel sleepy. I'm afraid to go over 300 mg per day, so I've only been able to pull about 50 hours before having to crash. I think I would be able to go longer if I werenwilling to increase the dosage, but I've never had the need nor motivation to do so. Friends have reported dosages of up to 800 mg per 12 hour period with no side effects, followed by a nap or even a full night's sleep. I'm more concerned about long term effects than they are, so I don't do those same kinds of dosages, even though I suspect I'll probably be safe. I'm just not willing to take that kind of risk without a good reason.
There don't seem to be any side effects. My eyes do get kind of dry, but that happens anyway when I pull an all-nighter. I think the modafinil might make it a little worse though, because every once in awhile when I'm on a normal sleep schedule and I take modafinil, my eyes will get a little itchy. Today, I got up at 9 today, stayed in bed until 10, took modafinil around noon. Now it's 1 AM, and they're feeling a mite itchy. But I did something very similar on Tuesday, and the itchiness didn't happen then...
I do get slower when I'm sleep deprived, even if I'm taking modafinil. I also get more irritable. It's harder to shut out distracting sensory input. I get frustrated more easily when things don't go the way I want them to. I lose my appetite. Sometimes I feel depression, although I'm aware why I'm feeling it and can remind myself there's no reason to feel suicidal. I should probably note that when I do get plenty of sleep, I don't have any of these problems and have a pretty normal personality, I guess.
I used to do plenty of all nighters before modafinil, so all of these things are familiar. They're also all still present when I'm on the drug. They... they just don't affect me as much. It's like modafinil is a barrier between me and the usual symptoms of sleep deprivation. It doesn't turn me into some kind of super soldier, capable of going 40 hours without sleep, then designing a pair of nuclear reactors in Latin while running a 10k. But going for several days on 0-4 hours of sleep a night is a hell of a lot more pleasant with it.
When I use it while on a normal sleep schedule, I usually take 100 mg in the morning if I think I'll need an edge that day. If I take it in the late afternoon... say, after 4 PM, I sometimes have trouble sleeping that night. It's not a huge problem. If I go work out and maybe have some alcohol, I can usually get to sleep without a lot of effort, regardless of when I've taken it. It's never been worse than if I've had coffee at the same hour.
Modafinil does -- no, is doing -- things to my memory, and I think some of the changes may be irreversible. I kept track of unexplainable moments of recall, those 'how did I know that?' momemts... while taking some difficult math and physics classes, both with and without modafinil. There were a lot more of them when I was taking the drug. Sometimes, I'll be able to recall things I'd thought I'd forgotten, or be able to do tasks I thought I couldn't do anymore. It helps with more than just my mind: since I started taking it, I can do martial arts katas from my childhood that I haven't performed or even thought about for many, many years. I do better, sometimes a lot better, against other people in FPS games.
Whatever it does seems to persist after I've taken the drug. When I have a superhuman recall event, I can still do the trick for that particular memory, no matter how complex or how long it's been since I've taken modafinil. I'm pretty sure it's harder to get that first recall when I'm on it, though. Again, there are no side effects. I'm not leaking brainpower somewhere else to make up for these new abilities.
It also does thing to my ability to reason. It's easier to 'get' things from textbooks and lectures. I suddenly developed an organization system for my notes, something I've never felt the need to do before. Looking at past binders full of notes, I think I can
see when I started taking the drug, although I've forgotten the exact date now.
It doesn't seem to help too much with the computer related stuff I do for my job, which includes some heavy programming tasks. I think it's easier for me to get and maintain focus and motivation for a task, but I'm not sure whether that's chemical or psychological (since I 'know' I'm supposed to have better mental abilities when I'm taking it).
The tasks also aren't that mentally challenging; they just require close attention to detail. I do know that if I'm not careful, I'll end up doing 4 hours of work, then screw around for 8 more hours since the modafinil makes me forget I'm supposed to be tired after 8 hours of work. On the other hand, I've had spans where I would consistently have 14 hours of solid productivity, with a good night's sleep every night and no bad feelings. That never happened consistently before I started taking the drug.
It is completely non-addictive, at least for me. I don't get unexplainable urges to go out and kill people for more of it. Getting it and taking it is a very calm rational process, and if I don't need it for a while, I'll just stop taking it. There's no regretful feelings or compulsion to take it so I won't backslide into a lesser state of existence. When school was in session, I didn't take any at all except the three days of the week when I had classes. I don't recognize any of the classic symptoms of addiction I learned about in the mandatory drug education classes we have in my state's public school system.
I'm not sure if there's a 'memory effect'. I have had experiences where I'd take it for 5 days in a row, with 8 hours of sleep a night, and I could still feel it on the 5th day. On the other hand, I've had the reverse experience: where I'd take it for a while and it would just... I don't know, stop working. I'd try to stay up by taking it and my body would crash anyway, or my memory would fail me unexpectedly.
It doesn't affect sex. My girlfriend can't tell when I'm on it, and we don't go at it more or less often when I'm on it. My mood might be sunnier in general when I'm on it... I think... but if it is, it's not a huge difference, regardless of what some says about its mood-brightening effects. It's certainly not anything I noticed before I read that it is a mood enhancer and began looking for those effects.
When I'm on a normal sleep schedule, the drug doesn't give me digestion problems, and food tastes the same. The pill itself tastes, well, odd. Sweet and sour and very strong. It's a very recognizable taste. It's not what I'd call pleasant, but it's not gaggingly awful, either. It's hard to describe.
It makes my urine smell different. The smell reminds me of the way the stuff tastes. It's easily noticeable if I'm trying to smell it, although it blends in pretty well with the normal smells I get from a bathroom.
Of all the people I've talked to about modafinil, I react uniquely to it when I'm drinking. I've had the most bizarre things happen to me when I mix modafinil and alcohol, and other people say these things have never happened to them when they do the same. Sometimes I'll enter this indescribable mental state of absolute internal clarity, and I'll have to go stare at a wall for a while. Sometimes my train of thought will... derail? I'd have mental tangent after mental tangent and can't stop it -- very frustrating. Sometimes things will begin to annoy me much more than they would if I wasn't on the drug, and I get mad. Very mad. Once, I found myself throwing up after several drinks (but nowhere near what it usually takes for me to throw up), then staggering home very drunk. Then, I showered and had a bizarre and unexplainable, completely sober few hours on the couch with my girlfriend, watching TV together. Ordinarily, that amount of alcohol, even if I did throw up, would have me snoring by that time. She didn't notice anything; at least, she didn't say anything to me.
Usually, alcohol just makes me more talkative, more outgoing and willing to do crazy shit. I've never had that 'mad drunk' feeling before my experience with modafinil, and I've been drinking for a lot longer than I've been taking the drug. I try to avoid mixing them now, and my experiences while out with my friends have returned to normal. Again, I think this is just me; none of the other people I've talked to have reported anything even slightly different from normal when they mix the two. They also were a lot worse when I started taking it. Later on, but before I started actively avoiding mixing them, I think the problems happened less frequently and caused less trouble when they did occur.
Overall, I'm very happy that I have it as an option now for those times I need to go without sleep or I need a mental edge. So far it's been totally harmless (when I take it by itself) except for the beneficial effects I want. I imagine that one day it'll be deregulated and Coke will add it to their secret formula, having unimaginable effects on everyone's productivity. It's going to be a very different world the day that happens.
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