Modafinil vs Adderall: Which One Is Better?

Many people have heard about such popular smart drugs as Modafinil and Adderall. The main problem is that it’s hard to decide which one is better. Read this detailed review to find out more about their differences and make your informed decision on which one is better for boosting productivity.

The Definition of Eugeroics

Adderall and Modafinil are drugs called eugeroics. It means that their intake promotes wakefulness. You can take them to treat any conditions that involve excessive daytime sleepiness, including narcolepsy, shift worker sleeping disorder, etc. Taking them to stay alert and boost productivity is the most popular off-label use. Eugeroics usually have a stimulating effect on the brain so that they’re often called stimulants.

What Is Adderall?

It’s one of the oldest central nervous system stimulants. This medication combines two amphetamines (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine). Primarily, it’s taken to treat ADHD. Some patients also take Adderall to treat the conditions that involve excessive sleepiness, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, and others. 

The main effects are on dopamine and norepinephrine. The key drawback of Adderall is that the effects of dopamine make it addictive. Its use can lead to these mild and severe side effects:

  • Blurred vision and anxiety;
  • Dizziness and headaches;
  • Constipation or diarrhea;
  • Increased blood pressure or heart rate;
  • Fever or dry mouth;
  • Muscle tremors or unusual mood changes;
  • Hair or weight loss;
  • Poor appetite or insomnia.

What Is Modafinil?

This drug belongs to a newer generation of stimulants, which mean that it has fewer side effects and its benefits are more predictable. The specificity of Modafinil on targeted receptors makes it safer than an older generation of stimulants. What are its effects on the central nervous system?

  • Inhibiting norepinephrine reuptake;
  • Increased orexin release;
  • Inhibiting dopamine reuptake;
  • Increasing histamine activity.

The use of Modafinil may still cause some side effects, including:

  • Anxiety and agitation;
  • Nausea and diarrhea;
  • Headaches and dizziness;
  • Nervousness or dry mouth.

To find out whether Modafinil or Adderall is better, it’s necessary to compare their effects for the most common uses, such as:

  • Boosting productivity;
  • Treating ADHD;
  • Increasing reaction times;
  • Improving athletic performance;
  • Treating excessive daytime sleepiness.

Adderall and Modafinil for Boosting Productivity

Most people take stimulants because they want to increase their productivity when they find it challenging to finish some work. The basic goal is to keep top performance and delay the onset of fatigue to get more work done. For example, they use caffeine, but pharmaceutical options offer the next level of productivity. 

The intake of stimulants is helpful if you’re faced with urgent deadlines or sleepless nights or if your tasks are tedious and boring. Both Modafinil and Adderall are highly effective in this case. Which one is better for boosting productivity?

Although both Adderall and Modafinil are great for increasing productivity, most consumers prefer Modafinil. Why? The effects of these drugs are almost similar because they both delay the onset of fatigue. The main difference is that Adderall has addictive and harsh side effects that may affect your productivity in the long run. Its intake will increase productivity, but it may start decreasing once you form tolerance. 

The worst part is that you may start being dependent on its intake to stay productive at all. Otherwise, you will feel foggy or dull. Unfortunately, the addictive potential of Adderall is a big problem. That’s why some physicians are hesitant to prescribe it, and more and more patients are switching to Modafinil that provides identical benefits for productivity while not being addictive.

Adderall and Modafinil for Treating ADHD

Both drugs are taken to treat ADHD, but only Adderall is approved for this use in some countries, including the US. What is ADHD? It’s a complex neurological dysfunction that is often linked back to the functions of dopamine in the brain. Patients who have this condition have less dopamine expression in their reward brain center than normal. Its lack makes is more difficult to trigger oxytocin release, thus forcing them to work harder for stimulating it. That’s why ADHD patients are affected by hyperactivity, distracted behavior, and fidgeting movements.

Both Modafinil and Adderall boost dopamine levels in the brain by preventing it from being ruined or reabsorbed by neurons. They keep dopamine active for a longer period of time, thus allowing it to bring stronger effects. Their intake leads to the following positive results:

  • Better memory;
  • Improved concentration;
  • Less frustration and fidgeting;
  • Stable energy levels.

Which drug is better for treating ADHD? Both drugs are effective for this purpose, but Adderal is a bit better as it’s more targeted at dopamine than Modafinil. Its effect on dopamine is also the key cause of its addictive nature. When the reward center in the brain is stimulated too much, people tend to develop addiction so that their bodies start craving its activation. When looking for improvement in ADHD symptoms, Adderall will provide more potent benefits. However, patients should stay alert of its addictive nature.

Adderall and Modafinil for Increasing Reaction Times

People want to boost their brain performance for different reasons. Some of them want to succeed in careers, while others are focused on passing important exams. That’s why different stimulants are so popular nowadays. They’re also taken to achieve better results and become a winner in popular e-sports. Their intake boosts the reaction speeds and vigilance of users. Sometimes, even a small improvement in reaction times makes a huge difference between winning and losing. 

Adderall and Modafinil are both used for this purpose, just like other available stimulants. Which one is better for increasing reaction times? When it comes to popular e-sports, many champions claim that they take stimulants to win. For this reason, the gaming commissions that regulate this industry start testing Adderall, but Modafinil isn’t tested in professional e-sports so that its effects for increasing reaction times can be safer and more predictable.

Adderall and Modafinil for Improving Athletic Performance

Many sports players take these drugs to improve their performance. Athletes can also benefit from their stimulating effects, especially when it comes to long training events and high-intensity workouts. The use of Adderall and Modafinil can help them stay more focused and alert during long-term biking events, ultramarathons, and so on. 

It’s worth noting that these medications should be taken for this purpose only under the supervision of trained medical professionals to stay on the safe side. Which drug is better for improving athletic performance? At the moment, Adderall is banned by sports commissions, but it’s still used by some top-level athletes discretely. Drug testing plays an important role when dealing with athletic stimulant use. 

To make a more informed choice, it’s necessary to take into account the after-effects of Adderall and Modafinil. Adderall usually causes dopamine levels to drop fast, and it can have a bad impact on your overall athletic performance. According to studies and tests, Modafinil doesn’t cause lower dopamine levels while providing the brain with the same stimulating effects. That’s why it’s a better option for boosting athletic performance.

Adderall and Modafinil for Treating Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Excessive sleepiness is a troubling symptom that many people experience these days. It often comes with such medical conditions as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, narcolepsy, and others. Both drugs are approved for treating excessive daytime sleepiness, and many doctors prescribe them for this purpose. The intake of Adderall and Modafinil stimulates the brain and the central nervous system, thus causing increased alertness levels to keep users awake throughout the day. 

Which one is better for treating this condition? Modafinil is better for treating excessive daytime sleepiness because it’s less addictive than Adderall and other stimulants that belong to their old generation. The effects of both drugs are very similar, but Modafinil is a bit stronger. The main reason is that is has a higher specificity level in the brain, and it makes its benefits more targeted while reducing unwanted side effects. The use of Adderall affects more brain receptors, thus causing adverse effects and making this drug unpredictable for patients.

Adderall vs Modafinil: Concluding Thoughts

After considering all the above-stated facts, it’s clear that both medications are powerful pharmaceutical stimulants. They work by boosting dopamine levels, forcing the brain into its waking state, and helping users complete their tasks better and faster. 

Overall, your decision about the best stimulant to take depends on what you want to use it for. For example, if you will take it to treat ADHD, choose Adderall because it’s a bit better, but keep in mind that it comes with certain side effects. If you need a potent stimulant to boost your productivity, improving athletic performance, staying awake, or increasing reaction times, Modafinil is your ultimate solution.