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Provigil is the brand name for a prescription drug called modafinil that’s used to treat conditions like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder.

Modafinil reduces sleepiness caused by narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, including periods of stopped breathing during sleep (sleep apnea). People who have work schedules that keep them from sleeping during normal sleep hours (shift work sleep disorder) may also take this medication to help them stay awake while working. Although this drug was once considered to have a low potential for abuse, now we’re not so sure. So, is Provigil addictive?

Is Modafinil a Stimulant?

Yes, modafinil is a stimulant that promotes wakefulness by promoting neural communication in the brain. Although modafinil’s exact mechanism of action is unknown, it’s believed to work by increasing dopamine levels by inhibiting the brain’s ability to reabsorb or reuptake the excess into nerves.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in mood, sense of well-being, and reward. Provigil is similar to other stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, which are mostly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Modafinil Abuse


Stimulant abuse has become more popular in recent years, especially among young teens and adults looking to boost their performance at work and school. These types of drugs, while they may treat different disorders, tend to work similarly by altering the natural flow and reuptake of neurotransmitters.

The results often leave users feeling intensely focused, with little to no appetite, and with little to no need for sleep.


Modafinil also gained fame after it was compared to a similar drug shown in the Hollywood blockbuster “Limitless” starring Bradley Cooper. The 2011 film showed a drug called “NZT-48” as the key to unlocking a larger percentage of our brains, increasing our intelligence and ability to perform cognitively.

Despite the continuous claims that the movie was fictional, many teens and young adults searching for a way to enhance their academic abilities fell for the claims that modafinil was a life-changing drug.

Does Modafinil Get You High?

Yes, modafinil can get you high. However, this isn’t the same kind of high one may experience while taking other stimulants like amphetamines. Provigil abuse generally leads to increased energy, alertness, and mood.

Abuse may include taking it without a prescription, taking higher doses than prescribed, and mixing it with other drugs or alcohol. As we mentioned before, teens and young adults most commonly engage in modafinil recreational use to improve their ability to concentrate and focus at school or work.

Common side effects of a modafinil high include alertness, increased energy, elevated mood, increased focus, and concentration. However, taking higher doses than directed by a doctor or mixing the drug with other substances can produce adverse side effects, such as overdose.

While it’s arguable that Provigil recreational use does not produce side effects nearly as dangerous as the effects of meth or cocaine abuse, it can lead to some undesirable effects. Additionally, the drug’s energy and mood-boosting side effects may give way to curiosity in users concerning the effects of more intense stimulants, meaning those who become accustomed to Provigil’s side effects may eventually want to try stronger drugs for a stronger high.

Can You Get Addicted to Provigil?

So, is Provigil addictive? Although its potential for abuse is low, Provigil is addictive. Addiction is the uncontrollable compulsion or urge to use drugs or alcohol despite the negative impact it has on one’s life.

A substance use disorder is a chronic disease that is not only physical but also mental, which is why they tend to co-occur with mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). So while modafinil isn’t as physically addictive as stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine, long-term abuse can lead to physical dependence.

Physical dependence is when someone has become so physically accustomed to a drug’s effects that they have to take larger doses to experience the same high or relief. Someone is physically dependent on drugs if they experience withdrawal symptoms when they reduce their doses or their use of the drug altogether.

It’s also important to note that modafinil is a Schedule IV (4) drug, meaning that it has medicinal benefits as well as low potential for abuse and dependency. Even so, long-term modafinil stimulant abuse can possibly lead to physical dependence and other health complications.

Overdose is also a risk among those who abuse stimulants. Users may attempt to achieve a stronger high by mixing them with other stimulants, drugs, or alcohol. In the end, this can lead to physical intoxication that can be deadly.

Need Help Quitting Modafinil?

Modafinil can be addictive, especially when it’s being used to increase performance or get high. Though research shows that this risk of addiction isn’t as high as that of meth or Adderall, it’s still possible.

With that said, stopping modafinil use can be difficult for someone who’s become dependent on it to boost their mood or perform at school. For those who have this problem, our Christian recovery center offers a medically monitored detox for prescription pills that provides patients with 24-hour medical assistance to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

We also offer various faith-based recovery programs, including prescription drug addiction treatment, that is individualized to patients’ substance use disorders. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, our addiction treatment specialists are ready to help.

To learn more about our faith-based inpatient rehab, call Faith in Recovery today at 888-280-4763.

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