Modafinil vs Adderall—the nootropics match up of the century. For YEARS college students and entrepreneurs alike have been using adderall to stay alert and focused for hours on end.
But with the emergence of modafinil, a previously unknown drug prescribed for narcolepsy, it seems that the reigning champion may have to give up its title…for good.
I’ve personally had a prescription for both modafinil and adderall, and just so you know where I stand, I have to say that I’m pretty biased in favor of modafinil.
That’s not to say that adderall doesn’t have its benefits, because it does—but in my experience, modafinil is the overall best choice for focus, energy, and improved cognition. Here’s why.
It’s important to note that although modafinil and adderall are often lumped into the same category, they’re actually quite different in terms of how they affect the brain.
Modafinil blocks neurotransmitters associated with sleep and fatigue, whereas adderall actively stimulates the central nervous system.
It’s suspected that modafinil inhibits GABA, a neurotransmitter associated with relaxation, from binding to receptors. In other words, when you take modafinil, you’re basically in 100% awake mode.
This may sound strange, but you’re usually never 100% awake—there isn’t an “on/off” switch in your brain, which is why it often takes a few hours for you to wake up fully. It’s why you’re groggy for the first hour or so in the morning.
Modafinil gets rid of this—there’s no grogginess, no fatigue, no possibility of sleeping. You’re running at 100% capacity, and you literally feel like Scarlett Johannson in Lucy, where she activates 100% of her brain (okay maybe not THAT much, but you get what I’m saying).
Adderall, which is basically legal methamphetamine, actually mimics neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
This is why adderall is so habit forming—you get addicted to it, and need it to function. You’re WIRED and jittery for 4-5 hours, but then you crash like a motherfucker. Sure, it’s a productive 4-5 hours, but it’s not worth the dependency.
Cognition is basically how well your brain operates—it includes things like focus, memory, and complex decision-making skills. The more cognition, the better you’re able to succeed and accomplish your goals.
Adderall hasn’t been shown to improve cognition, but what it does improve is your ability to focus (if you have ADHD). It does this by mimicking dopamine, a chemical associated with motivation, which makes it easier to concentrate without getting distracted.
For some people, especially those prone to anxiety, adderall will actually decrease their cognition. This is because a common side effect is nervousness and shakiness, which obviously make it more difficult to think clearly.
Modafinil on the other hand, has actually been shown to enhance IQ. It improves complex decision making processes, executive function, memory, creativity, and learning speed.
I notice all of these when I take modafinil first thing in the morning. It’s like a fog has been lifted, and I can think clearly for the first time in years. The difference is like trying to drive with a dirty windshield, as opposed to with a crystal clear windshield.
In fact, according to a meta-study conducted by neuroscientists at Oxford University, modafinil has been proven to “consistently engender enhancement of attention, executive functions, and learning.” (Source)
It’s no wonder that silicon valley executives and entrepreneurs alike are taking modafinil to function at 100% peak capacity. No drug that I’m aware of is as powerful as modafinil, ESPECIALLY when it comes to complex thinking.
When it comes to duration, modafinil is a clear-cut winner. In fact, not only does modafinil last longer, but it’s also far more stable—you don’t get the huge spike and then gigantic crash in energy like you do with adderall.
Adderall typically lasts 4 to 6 hours, maybe a little bit longer if you’re an inexperienced user. About 30 minutes after you pop the pill, you feel a surge in euphoria, as well as enhanced focus.
But, in a few hours, it starts to dwindle, and often times leads to a crash. Many users report feeling depressed and drained after they take adderall, which makes sense, because it has meth-like properties.
Modafinil, on the other hand, lasts for up to 14 hours and is far more stable. There’s no sharp crash like there is with adderall, and you can even use it to stay awake for days on end.
I personally take a pill every morning at 6, and can feel the effects in 30 minutes. It’s like a gradual amping up of your brain—with the crescendo, or peak, lasting for around 5 hours. Yes, that’s right. The peak lasts 5 hours.
By 8, just 2 hours after taking modafinil, I’m in the fucking zone. I can then crank work out until around 8pm, a full 12 hours, at which point I usually decide to go do something else.
It’s hard to beat adderall’s euphoric effects. While modafinil does have a slight euphoric effect, in my opinion, it isn’t even close to what you feel on adderall.
What else would you expect from something so closely related to meth? Adderall binds to dopamine and norepinephrine receptors, which leads to an enhanced mood, and more sociability. That’s why college students snort adderall at parties. It makes you more euphoric and sociable.
That being said, I don’t really care about socializing when I’m trying to focus on a project and get shit done. I care about pure processing ability and focus—that’s all.
Not that the euphoria you get from adderall is bad or anything. Hell, it’s pretty good—it’s just that when I’m taking nootropics to enhance my productivity, mood doesn’t really play a big role for me.
It’s pretty clear that modafinil has far less side effects than adderall does, both in the long run and the short term.
In the short term, adderall can lead to a wide range of negative side effects, such as:
When I used to take adderall, I would get EXTREMELY nauseous—I even threw up a few times. With modafinil, this isn’t a problem. I don’t get nauseous at all, and the side effects are minimal.
Modafinil still has its side effects, but they’re pretty minor. The only side effect I really get is just excessive thirst—when I take modafinil I drink a lot more water than usual, but that’s about it. I don’t get any nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or anything else.
Not only is modafinil safer in the short term, but it’s also safer in the long term.
Long term adderall use has a MASSIVE potential for abuse, because users develop a tolerance after just a few doses. With modafinil, however, it takes far longer to develop a tolerance, and you can quickly get rid of it with a 2 week break.
Adderall is known for causing heart problems, as well—many people end up overdosing and get a rapid heartbeat, often times going to the emergency room. And while modafinil isn’t 100% perfect, why would you risk it?
Overall, modafinil is the best choice for men trying to enhance their productivity, get laser focus, and increase their intelligence. I’ve personally been using it for almost 5 years now, and can personally vouch for its life-changing effects.
With modafinil, you’ll feel like your brain is a fucking jet engine—it’s running on all cylinders, at 100% capacity, and there’s no stopping. The feeling is absolutely incredible, and once you experience it, you’ll never view your brain in the same way.
My favorite online source for modafinil is currently giving away 10 free samples—no catch, no strings attached, and no bullshit. It’s 100% free, and it’s yours for the taking.
Alternatively, you can also get a prescription for modafinil from your doctor, which I’ve written about before. Either way, ALWAYS consult with a medical professional, and understand that NONE of the content on this blog should be viewed as medical advice.
If you guys have any questions or concerns, feel free to let me know down in the comments section—and as always, I’ll see you next time.
Jon Anthony is a world renowned dating coach and the founder of Masculine Development, a website specifically dedicated to helping men improve their personal, dating, and financial lives. After years of training men how to attract women, build muscle, and make more money, Jon created the "7 Strategies" program to help kickstart your journey to success. Jon firmly believes that every man should have control over his own life, and he created Masculine Development to share his passion with men who want success in all areas.