Modafinil for memory alertness and depression treatment
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Modafinil for memory alertness

Use Modafinil to Improve Memory Alertness and Depression Treatment

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The most attractive finding that we had in our research of modafinil is its role in fighting depression.

Sure, we admit it’s a powerful smart drug for memory alertness and its effectiveness has been constantly proved in cognitive functions like amplifying focus, boosting productivity, maximizing concentration, and enhancing overall cognition.

But depression, really?

The answer is yes. In our studies, we found psychotherapists are now opting to advise modafinil to their patients as alternative therapies to their conventional treatment.

You will find a detailed discussion ahead on modafinil’s mind-boosting properties and its effect on anxiety and depression.

Uses of Modafinil

Modafinil which is a ‘eugeroic’ was initially developed in France, sold on prescription since 1994 under the name Modiodal while U.S FDA approved it in1998 and it was sold under the name Provigil.

Modafinil is not a classical psychostimulant and was primarily prescribed for the treatment of:


-obstructive sleep apnea

-shift work sleep order

It has also been proved to be effective in reducing fatigue, drowsiness, and tiredness in conditions such as cancer, depression, and multiple sclerosis.

Modafinil is instrumental in several cognitive functions like:

  • Sharpening memory (1) (2)
  • Improving focus and alertness (3) (4)
  • Intensifying motivation
  • Minimizing fatigue (5)


Because it stimulates wakefulness it has been used off-label by professionals of various fields like day traders, entrepreneurs, astronauts, military personnel and the list goes on.

Side effects of Modafinil

When compared to other nootropics modafinil can be labeled as a safe and well-tolerated drug. No potential risk has been associated with long-term use of the drug to date. Some mild side effects may be observed in people introduced to the drug. Common Symptoms may look like- (6) (7)

Only if any such effect occurs that is mainly due to overdose or wrong timing of drug ingestion. No deaths from modafinil overdose have been recorded ever.

How modafinil helps in depression

In the past few years, rigorous studies have been conducted on modafinil and researchers have concluded that modafinil does alleviate symptoms of depression.

In an experiment, Cambridge researchers discovered that when subjects were provided with modafinil along with antidepressants, significant benefits were observed. As Cambridge researcher Barbara Sahakian mentions

“Modafinil has actions on a number of neurotransmitter systems. This may explain why adding it to traditional antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, has beneficial effects on the symptoms experienced by depressed patients.” (8)

The research showed how issues that come along with depression can improve by the symptomatic benefits obtained with modafinil use. Depression can cause a lack of focus, fatigue, and hence low productivity due to absenteeism from work.


For Mood disorders like bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, mental health therapists advise modafinil to soothe symptoms. Research suggests that modafinil is instrumental in improving depressive symptoms from the disorders. (9) (10)

Does modafinil improve memory alertness?

Research studies suggest significant enhancement of spatial memory and contextual fear memory with modafinil intake.

The core concern of depression is Cognitive dysfunction. Most frequently experienced symptoms, by patients, in between episodes are cognitive symptoms.

Modafinil, which primarily induces wakefulness, improves cognitive symptoms related to depression drastically. Symptoms include:

  • Intense fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Low motivation levels.


Research on modafinil’s wake-promoting abilities has indicated monoaminergic effects showing modafinil stimulates histamine (HA), norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), and orexin systems in the brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for alertness, wakefulness, and mood enhancement. The half-life of modafinil is longer than other drugs which range from 10 to 12 hours but can last up to 15 hours for some. (11)

Well, after this research we can definitely conclude on the positive after-effects of modafinil on depression and cognitive functions like alertness. Of course, professional help should be your primary thing on the list if you are struggling with depression then why not ask your therapist for that extra dose of the smart drug in your treatment and speed up healing.

Works Cited

1. Modafinil Improves Episodic Memory and Working Memory Cognition in Patients With Remitted Depression: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Muzaffer Kaser, Julia B Deakin , Albert Michael , Camilo Zapata , Rachna Bansal , Dragana Ryan , Francesca Cormack , James B Rowe , Barbara J Sahakian.

2. Cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil in healthy volunteers. Danielle C. Turner, Trevor W. Robbins, Luke Clark, Adam R. Aron, Jonathan Dowson & Barbara J. Sahakian.

3. Modafinil improves attentional performance in healthy, non-sleep deprived humans at doses not inducing hyperarousal across species. Zackary A.Cope, Arpi Minassian, DustinKreitner, David A. MacQueen, MorganeMilienne-Petiot, Mark A.Geyer, WilliamPerry, Jared W.Young.

4. Effects of modafinil on cognitive performance and alertness during sleep deprivation. Wesensten, Nancy J.

5. A phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial of the effect of modafinil on cancer-related fatigue among 631 patients receiving chemotherapy: a University of Rochester Cancer Center Community Clinical Oncology Program Research bas. Pascal Jean-Pierre 1, Gary R Morrow, Joseph A Roscoe, Charles Heckler, Supriya Mohile, Michelle Janelsins, Luke Peppone, Amy Hemstad, Benjamin T Esparaz, Judith O Hopkins.

6. Modafinil. Karl Greenblatt, Ninos Adams.

7. Modafinil reduces depression’s severity when taken with antidepressants. Barbara Sahakian, Dr Muzaffer Kaser.

8. Long-term safety and efficacy of armodafinil in bipolar depression: A 6-month open-label extension study. Terence A.Ketter, JessAmchin, Mark A.Frye, NicholasGross.

9. Modafinil treatment in patients with seasonal affective disorder/winter depression: an open-label pilot study. LeslieLundt.

10. Modafinil and Memory: Effects of Modafinil on Morris Water Maze Learning and Pavlovian Fear Conditioning. Tristan Shuman, Suzanne C. Wood, and Stephan G. Anagnostaras.

11. wikipedia. 

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