Modafinil for ADHD and Cognitive Enhancement
One of the most prescribed off-label uses of Modafinil is for improving the symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is believed that because of its alertness-promoting and stimulant-like effects, Modafinil can help to manage the symptoms of these conditions.
In multiple studies on various age groups (children up to adults) of people with ADHD, it has been seen that compared to a placebo, Modafinil is significantly better at improving scores on a variety of memory and attention tests, such as tests of visual and short-term memory, spatial planning tests, and stop-signal motor inhibition tests.
Improvements have also been seen in a number of checklists and scales of ADHD symptoms, including the Teacher and Parent ADHD Rating Scale-IV, ADHD Rating Scale-IV School and Home Versions, Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale, and the DSM-IV ADHD Behavior Checklist.
Some tests have been done comparing Modafinil to traditional medications for ADHD, such as dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine). One study found that both active medications improved scores on the DSM-IV ADHD Behavior Checklist for Adults significantly over placebo group scores, and that Modafinil’s efficacy was similar to that of dextroamphetamine.
One of the most popular off-label uses of Modafinil that it does not typically get prescribed for is as a cognitive enhancer. Modafinil has been used for its nootropic effects for many years now, with users reporting that it improves memory, concentration, focus, and productivity.
People with jobs requiring attention to detail, such as reading, technical work or design, have reported that they can pay attention to tasks for long periods of time without distraction, maintaining consistently high mental focus throughout.
While still considered an off-label use, taking Modafinil for increased attention, motivation, energy and cognitive effects is now the most common use for the drug.
There are countless positive reviews online from people ranging from college students who use Modafinil to study and take exams, to high powered business executives who use it to prepare and present detailed presentations, to computer programmers who use it to concentrate and write code for many hours at a time.
While its use as a cognitive enhancer does not have as much scientific backing as other approved uses, there has been research done that show Modafinil may have a positive cognitive effect. Two literature reviews done on the compiled research found that there were trends that emerged, showing that Modafinil may improve memory, specifically episodic memory and working memory, as well as improve executive function.
One research study found that Modafinil improved scores on a battery of cognitive tests and subjective assessments compared to a placebo. Motivation, fatigue levels, vigilance, and reaction time were all seen to be improved in the Modafinil group compared to placebo group scores.
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