The so-called nootropic drugs belong to a group of stimulant drugs which contain a set of chemical substances for improving concentration, attention, memory, learning, and other cognitive abilities by reacting with the chemicals existing in our brain.
What did the studies show?
The precise mechanism of reaction between nootropic drugs and brain chemicals is not known in all details, but a recent study unveiled a part of the mystery. The study was performed among healthy individuals, and the results showed that Modafinil, the most widely used and known nootropic drug, improves nerve impulse flow in parts of the brain responsible for attention and alertness, and the study confirmed that this nootropic drug enhances energy, alertness and thinking processes to a great extent.
However, the creators of this study admitted that they still could not explain all effects of Modafinil and its components' reaction with brain chemicals. Contrary to all other stimulant drugs, Modafinil and the rest of nootropics remain a mystery, as far as their action and effects in the brain are concerned.
In earlier studies, it was suggested that Modafinil affects dopamine levels in the first place, or that norepinephrine was the main constituent of the chain reactions in the brain caused by Modafinil, since this chemical compound is responsible for alertness. That seemed logical enough due to the fact that Modafinil primarily enhances alertness.
At the beginning, some also thought that GABA was responsible, glutamate, or phosphocreatine – a substance essential in producing energy, while today this view is no longer tenable. Scientists now believe that Modafinil affects different parts of the brain simultaneously, though they do not know for certain which ones are mostly affected.
The known positive effects of Modafinil
Although, the precise mechanism is not known, the effects of Modafinil and other nootropic drugs are well-known to all and researched well enough. Its primary function is to enhance wakefulness, attention and cognitive abilities in cases of sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy.
The positive side of Modafinil is that it differs from other stimulant drugs, narcotics, and energy drinks. Though similar in their stimulating effect, Modafinil does not cause any detrimental effect on our health like amphetamines or a few cups of coffee do, be it bowel problems, anxiety, or high blood pressure. Moreover, you should not take other stimulant drugs or drink energy and caffeine drinks while using Modafinil or any other nootropic drug.
Modafinil is however more popular for its use in the improvement of cognitive abilities: attention, learning and thinking processes, concentration, memory, anticipation, creativity, and overall mental awareness, the so-called "clearness of mind". It also enhances self-confidence, motivation, and emotional state, making you behave in a more relaxed and sociable manner.
Should Modafinil be used for weight-loss?
Doctors, nutritionists and all those who consider themselves competent for the subject, recommend an unimaginable number of different diets for losing weight, among which there are as many quite unusual and literal starving methods; but rarely anyone would suppose stimulant drugs would be used for the same purpose.
Yes, Modafinil is also used for losing weight, since it diminishes your desire for food and at the same time increases energy to a great extent, while the excess of unused energy and motivation, in turn, forces you to be more physically active. But does this effect come with a price?
The underestimated negative effects of Modafinil
Nothing curious about a medicine having side-effects; however, you should certainly be aware of its potential harmfulness and know how to avoid it.
Though the above-mentioned studies report no cases of grave danger to your health and the frequency of side-effects as negligible, there are other studies that point to quite the opposite situation. Taking Modafinil may cause headaches, weakness, stomachache and nausea, chest pain, confusion, frequent mood changes, loss of concentration, and other symptoms which Modafinil is usually used for.
The thing is that Modafinil could actually worsen all symptoms it is supposed to cure, and cause the opposite effects: A decrease in concentration, attention and alertness, memory loss, energy loss, aggressive behavior, etc. Furthermore, it could also produce some major side-effects which would require immediate medical attention.
Can Modafinil affect your mental health?
And that's not all; there is even something worse – mental health deterioration. Again, although Modafinil is used to enhance certain mental abilities, it could also worsen the situation and cause severe forms of anxiety and depression, hyperactivity, hallucinations, and so on. Speaking of depression, you should not take anti-depressants at the same time as Modafinil or other nootropics.
The general advice is to follow your doctor's directions on taking Modafinil, and do nothing without consulting a medical expert first. That is the only way to prevent its potential side-effects. No matter what majority of people would tell you, it is not safe to take Modafinil on your own, as any other drug there is, especially if it is a stimulant drug in question.