Modafinil-induced anxiety is not a common side effect and affects only 5% of people. It is usually mild and can be prevented by avoiding drug interaction, overdosing, excessive caffeine, and taking a lower dosage.
People with mental health issues are more likely to experience an anxiety disorder which can be improved by practicing meditation, long breathing techniques, and taking supplements such as L-Theanine and sedatives.
“Modafinil anxiety” is the last thing one would like to experience when taking the Nootropic for better productivity at work.
Imagine it's been some time since you have taken your Modafinil dosage, and you are getting all geared up to complete all the pending task-list. But soon start feeling anxious, a nightmare for any corporate worker or a student taking Modafinil for better grades.
So, before you start your treatment with Modafinil or its brand drug, Modalert, it is essential to be informed and aware of all the possible cons along with its benefits. So, today we meticulously try to find a correlation between Modafinil and anxiety and find ways to prevent and cure it.
Modafinil And Anxiety- The Basics
Modafinil is a controlled substance and is a wake-promoting agent that effectively treats Excessive daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy. It is currently approved as a Schedule IV prescription drug in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration. Modafinil is categorized as a psychostimulant and is effective for treating Obstructive sleep apnea and Shift work sleep disorder.
On the other hand, Anxiety is normally described as the body's response to stress . This condition is characterized by signs of dizziness, restlessness, fatigue, jitteriness, shallow breathing, and palpitation.
There are many factors that can contribute to causing anxiety, including-
Stress is identified as one of the most prevalent causes of anxiety.
Substance or drug abuse.
Health issues such as diabetes or depression.
Side effects from medications
Modafinil Anxiety- Its Pharmacology
There is a lot of debate regarding if stimulants or Modafinil can cause anxiety or worsen the existing symptoms. So here are a few possible theories that provide an explanation for Modafinil-induced anxiety disorder.
Any stimulant in general (even caffeine in coffee and theobromine in chocolate) is known to cause anxiety symptoms in people. Studies indicate that other stimulants, such as amphetamines or Adderall, can increase the risk of anxiety attacks .
So, how does Modafinil induce anxiety?
The mechanism of action of Modafinil or Modalert 200 mg involves overstimulating the central Nervous System resulting in vigilance, arousal, and wakefulness. At the same time, such overactivation can also result in anxiety symptoms by increasing the secretion of glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin.
People with mental health disorders are more likely to suffer from Modafinil-induced anxiety disorder.
According to the website, Very Well Mind, anxiety caused due to Modafinil is much milder than other stimulants .
Altering Brain Frequencies
The brain frequencies help us understand the activities of the brain, along with helping us get an overview of anxiety.
The delta waves are measured at 0.5 to 4 Hz and are measured when a person is in a deep sleep.
Theta waves range between 4 to 7 Hz and are associated with REM sleep.
Alpha Waves are considered the ideal state for working and range from 7.5 to 12.5 Hz.
Beta waves are known to cause anxiety, stress, paranoia, and arousal and are between 12.5 to 40 Hz.
The action of Modafinil is also known to cause an effect in the Beta range, thus causing anxiety .
What Do Scientific Studies Suggest?
Among all the side effects of Modafinil, anxiety is identified and listed as one of its common adverse effects by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) . In a clinical trial addressed by the FDA, about 5% of people taking Modafinil experienced anxiety disorder.
The FDA further states the following reason to cause Modafinil-induced anxiety.
Dose-dependent adverse reaction
Due to the discontinuation of the treatment.
A similar study in 2011 on the Cambridge website evaluating the effectiveness of Modafinil for Excessive daytime sleepiness reports the occurrence of anxiety in 5% of the subjects . So, it would be safe to say that the issue of anxiety is experienced by only a few people taking the Nootropic.
Modafinil For Anxiety- Is It An Effective Solution?
Just when we were getting a clearer picture of the relation between Modafinil and anxiety, we stumbled upon papers suggesting the use of “Modafinil for anxiety.”
So, let us go through the findings of two prevalent studies on using Modafinil for anxiety.
Case Study 1- Conducted by Adrian Johnson et al., published in 2017.
To understand the effect of Modafinil on anxiety, doses of 0, 2, 20, and 200 mg/L for 30 minutes were tested on Zebrafish. The fish was then placed in a circular arena with a novel object in the center. Using a motion-tracking device, the time spent by the fish in the outer arena (thigmotaxis zone), middle arena transition zone) and the center of the arena was checked .
The study by Adrian Johnson suggests that the use of Modafinil helped in decreasing anxiety-like behavior in Zebrafish.
Case Study 2- Conducted by Roberta Rasetti et al., published in 2010.
A study on the effects of Modafinil on neural circuits indicates that the use of Modafinil reduces the activity of amygdala reactivity during a threatening stimuli processing task .
The amygdala is a part of the brain that lies in the temporal lobe and plays a key role in controlling the response to anxiety to stressful events [9,10]. Thus the study suggests that the use of Modafinil can significantly reduce anxiety levels in people.
Serotonin is a chemical messenger between the brain and the nerve cells that play a key role in maintaining the mood of the person. Studies show that a lack of Serotonin levels in the body can cause depression, anxiety, and other health conditions.
So, does Modafinil induce the secretion of serotonin in the body?
According to the finding by Paul Gerrard, Modafinil can enhance the secretion of serotonin . It thus helps in improving the mood of a person and is responsible for the anxiolytic effect of the Nootropic.
How To Reduce Anxiety From Modafinil?
If you experience Modafinil anxiety, here are a few effective ways to help you improve your condition.
Meditation- Scientifically, the Modafinil dosage increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (a part of the CNS that helps with fight response). So, when we see a threat, our body stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which gives us the rush to function. This can, at times, result in anxiety; thus, meditation can be a great way to relax and calm the SNS.
Practicing meditation and controlled rhythmic breathing can effectively relax the parasympathetic nervous system while lowering anxiety symptoms.
Exercise- Exercising for 10 to 15 minutes everyday can help in releasing serotonin and endorphin in the body that helps in improving the mental health and lowering signs of anxiety. Taking Modafinil before exercising can also help people workout better.
Using supplements such as L-Theanine- It is believed to be one of the best supplements to be administered with Modafinil. L-Theanine is an amino acid that is present in good-quality tea or can also be taken as supplement tablets. However, the effect of this supplement does not last as long as Modafinil, and thus, it is recommended to split the dosage into two halves.
Lower the dose- One of the best ways to prevent or cure anxiety induced by Modafinil is by lowering the dose of the medication. As stated by the FDA, anxiety from Modafinil can also be dosage induced and can be helpful if taken in lower strengths.
Therapy- Medicine-induced anxiety disorder can be treated effectively with therapy. You can consult a doctor and join a group therapy or get online therapy based on your preference.
Sedatives- Many healthcare professionals also prescribe sedatives such as Ativan and Zoloft. There are also many people who take Carisoprodol for anxiety; however, it is not approved by the FDA and should not be taken to manage anxiety signs from Modafinil.
Ways To Prevent Modafinil Anxiety
To be honest, there is NO proven method to avoid experiencing anxiety from taking this Nootropic. However, there are a few factors that can be taken into consideration while purchasing Modalert 200 mg or Modafinil to lower the risk of experiencing anxiety.
People with a history of mental health issues should consult a doctor before taking the Nootropic.
Beginners should start with a lower dose of the Nootropic. The standard prescription dose of Modafinil or Modalert is 200 mg.
Limit your caffeine intake.
Do not take other medication with Modafinil dosage as it may cause drug interaction resulting in developing anxiety symptoms.
Does Modafinil Cause Anxiety- Our Final Thoughts
The stimulating effect of Modafinil can cause anxiety. It is, however, not a prevalent side effect and is observed to affect about 5% of its users.
You can continue using Modafinil without experiencing anxiety issues by adding supplements such as L-Theanine, meditation, sedatives, dosage adjustments, etc.
On the contrary, there are studies that support the use of Modafinil for anxiety.
So, for best results from this Nootropic, it is advisable to take Modafinil 200 mg dosage after consulting a physician.