I recently came across some information about a nootropic drug called modafinil while reading up on the dual n-back exercise as a way to increase focus and working memory ability - two things I've always struggled with in my life (at least I think so).
For as long as I can remember I've always had a problem focusing, remembering things, staying on track, and avoiding distractions. I have a tendency to start and stop projects; to go balls to the wall for days on end, then suddenly get distracted and lost momentum. It's kind of a predictable pattern when I look back in hindsight. So when I read about modafinil and some of the benefits, I was intrigued. Many articles promote it as a wonder pill for making you limitless (with the mandatory reference to the Bradley Cooper movie.....) and able to focus SO INTENTLY THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CONQUER THE UNIVERSE!! Yea, I'm not really buying into that kind of hype. I was looking more at the various forum threads over at the brain health area of longecity.com to get a sense of what actual people's experiences were. The modafinil reddit forum is also pretty good.
Lately, I've really been struggling with procrastination and lack of work ethic because of my tendency to drift from one project to another and never really finishing anything I start. That can really burn a person out. It's amazing how dedicated I can be to a project one day and then be completely complacent in it the next day (yes, this also goes from minute to minute and hour to hour...). It's a strange feeling to be working hard, yet accomplishing very little when your mind is going off in a million different directions simultaneously!
So anyways, modafinil looked enticing to me, even though I usually tend to snub my nose at the idea of using any type of drug, and it got me thinking about what it could actually do for me and if the benefits might outweigh the negative aspects of it (since all drugs have 90 seconds worth of gruesome side effects, right?). Aside from a few dermatological issues that seem to be pretty rare, there didn't seem to be many common modafinil side effects from what I could see based on modafinil reviews from many people on various forums and review sites.
It's not addictive from what I've read. The main danger that is usually highlighted is Stevens–Johnson syndrome, which is not exactly the most pretty thing in the world, but from what I've read it's extremely rare.
Coincidentally, the main benefits of using modafinil also happen to correspond with the main symptoms of ADHD. Now, I've never given much credence to the notion that having a short attention span can be considered any kind of disorder, and I still tentatively maintain that viewpoint given my limited psychological expertise. However, I am starting to understand more about how the brain works and how certain neuro-chemical building blocks such as dopamine and norepinephrine receptors can get out of balance in certain individuals. I'm still uncertain about what causes these imbalances, but I'm increasingly becoming convinced that they do play a factor. Can you tell I have no idea what I'm talking about?
So, I'm going into this experiment under the pretext of having ADHD just so I can have a specific set of symptoms that I can benchmark against and monitor any improvements.
I've been scouting around looking for a reliable source of nonprescription modafinil since it's difficult to get a prescription from a doctor from what I've read (the long-term effects are still untested, and the advertised usage is mainly for narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea and shift work sleep disorder. I'll be using it for off-label reasons obviously because I don't have any of those.
Unfortunately, there are a plethora of shitty online pharmacies out there. It can be really difficult to Weed out the bad ones just by looking at them.. A website can be extremely well-designed and have the appearance of being reputable, and be a major scam at the same time.
Luckily, I found a few resources on forums and other miscellaneous websites, namely this one from somebody named Gwern over at http://www.gwern.net/Modafinil. It has a breakdown of a large number of online suppliers of modafinil which gives the price, a link to their website, and also recommendations about which ones are the best to go with. It's also a good idea to browse through forums for recent posts about which sources are good at the moment. Given that there are all sorts of customs issues and potentially shady business practices, it's always a good idea to stay current and go with a source that can be vouched for.
After obsessively researching (hey, if I'm going to put a drug into my body from some foreign online website that I know nothing about, I'm going to be damned sure that I'm getting something legit backed by real users experiences!) I decided to go with the two top websites I've found to compare products. Nubrain.com and EdandMore.com.
Amazingly, I've already received my modafinil order from Nubrain (shipped just two days ago)! I'm not expecting my package from EdandMore for another couple weeks based on the reviews I've read about their shipping. To be fair, Nubrain is located in Georgia which is only a few states away from me here in Texas.
Here's what I got from their sampler pack:
Anyways, it's been a couple hours since I popped in my modalert 100mg pill, and I'm not exactly sure what I am feeling from it just yet. Although, I have sat down and written out this entire article in one sitting in a relatively short amount of time, so I suppose that says something considering how much I usually hate writing!
All keep monitoring my progress and try to keep this blog updated as much as possible in my modafinil adventures.
***Update - 06/20/2014 ***
After a long hiatus from using modafinil, I've starting using it on and off again now that I'm going to school full time for engineering. A full-time summer schedule is proving to be pretty challenging, and it's been kind of crazy so far. I need all the brain power I can muster. I'm taking trigonometry and precalculus simultaneously, which is proving to be extremely time and focus intensive. It's not unusual for me to study from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed (which is pretty sad...I know...but it has to be done). The modafinil is proving to be monumentally helpful during these long study sessions.
The main issue is that if I manage to distract myself with something unproductive, the modafinil certainly doesn't tell my brain what's important and what's not important. I still need to work on goal-setting so that I can stay on track. It's easy to get lost in the sea of internet distractions, and the modafinil can make that sea even more vast by sucking your focus into it, so that is something to be cognizant of.
I'm taking 100mg, twice per day, every other day. I'm timing it this way so that I don't overdo it, and on days that I have the least amount of classes so that I can sit down and crank out and much homework as humanly possible.
I've also ordered some armodafinil (an enantiomer derivation of modafinil which is said to be stronger and more effective). That should be here in a couple of weeks, so I'll probably make a new post about my experience with that.
I've also been experimenting for the past year with another well known nootropic called piracetam along with a choline supplement to counterbalance the choline demands that come with these nootropics. It's a much more subtle drug that is geared more towards increasing creativity and memory enhancement. I've been mixing it in with the modafinil and it seems to interact pretty well, and I've been getting some pretty good results so far - meaning 'in-the-zone' motivation, energy, and focus.
Needless to say, I'm much more open about the prospect of smart drugs than I was when I made the initial post having experienced it's effects.