Modafinil VS Adderall – The Battle Of The 2 Cognitive Enhancers

Article by: David Gracey
modafinil vs adderall

When it comes to enhancing your brain cognition, there are a few smart drugs out there that can help tremendously.  Modafinil VS Adderall is the common comparison that regularly comes up.

They all work a bit differently on the brain, but the common result is a neurological stimulation that causes cognitive enhancement.

In other words, they help you to have more focus, better memory, and faster learning abilities.  Still, none of them actually increases your IQ.   They do however help you study and/or finish a project.

human brain nootrpoics 101

What smart drugs (or nootropics) really do for you is make your brain focus on things in a way that it has never done before.

Suddenly, you’re able to concentrate on boring mundane tasks that usually take you an entire day just to get started.

That’s why entrepreneurs, engineers, programmers, and many other kinds of professionals are taking advantage of these nootropic substances.

Now, when it comes to smart drugs, the discussion of Modafinil VS Adderall always seem to be popping up.

They’re the preferred brain enhancers of many people around the world, and they seem to create interesting results for most people that take them.

Still, they’re both very different in how they operate in your brain, and neither of them comes without side effects!

(I’ll get to those a bit later…)

Although Modafinil is a brain stimulant, it doesn’t work in the same conventional way that all the others do.  This is what I find to be interesting.  Both substances work quite differently in the body.

This is the key to deciding which one is for you.

So, in the battle of the cognitive enhancers, Modafinil VS. Adderall becomes an important comparison that comes with many questions that need to be answered.

This is exactly what I’m going to share with you below.

That is, everything you need to know about them both Adderall and Modafinil, so you can make the best decision when choosing which smart drug is the best fit.

Modafinil is a drug approved by the FDA to treat narcolepsy.

It has great results in treating the disease and really does make a positive change in people’s lives.

Now, on the flip side, perfectly healthy adults are taking modafinil for other reasons.  It isn’t to get high or any kind of hallucinogenic effect.  The reason these people are doing this is to boost their brain’s cognition.

They want to perform better at work and while studying.

This is exactly what Modafinil does for them.

Now, it’s time to get to know more about Adderall. 

This is a well-known substance, especially in places like Silicon Valley where being on the top of your game cognitively is of utmost importance.

See our other blog post:

“How Prevalent is Nootropics Usage in Silicon Valley?”

Adderall is widely used to treat ADHD symptoms.  It has a lifelong number of studies proving the efficacy of the drug against this particular issue.

Now, again, perfectly healthy adults sometimes take Adderall to enhance their cognition.

They want the same thing that people that take Modafinil want;  to have better cognition, and therefore, have better brain performance.

As you can see, both drugs are used for the same end result even though they’re meant for different uses.  The decision that one has to make is more based on how these substances work on the brain and the side effects and dangers of taking them.

This is exactly the next topic I’m going to cover in this article, so keep reading.

How Does Modafinil Work? – Key Differences of Modafinil VS Adderall

To understand why these smart drugs are so different, you need to first understand how they work.

Let’s get started with Modafinil.

Unlike most stimulants, Modafinil doesn’t inhibit key brain transmitters such as norepinephrine or dopamine.  What it actually does is block GABA receptors.

This creates a double negative in the brain.  The end result is that you have better concentration and focus while also having the motivation to complete your tasks.

Now, the main reason that people are advocating for Modafinil is that it doesn’t cause symptoms that are common to stimulants like Rialtin and Adderall.

We’re talking about addiction, racing heart, and even strokes.  Modafinil is, in theory, much safer and easier to take.

It produces nearly the same results without the same downsides.  Obviously, like any drug, it still can have serious side effects that are worth checking out below.

Modafinil works by blocking GABA receptors.  This promotes relaxation with alertness in your brain.  This is the secret as to why you’re capable of expanding your attention span and become more focused at the same time while taking Modafinil.

How Does Adderall Work In Your Brain – As Compared to Modafinil

In comparing Adderall VS Modafinil, Adderall works similar to most stimulants.  It inhibits dopamine and norepinephrine.

These are important neurotransmitters that are responsible for an array of neurological functions that are important for your daily life.  We’re talking about mood regulation, stress management, learning, memory, focus, and many other things.

By increasing your levels of certain neurotransmitters, Adderal makes you more productive.

Suddenly, you can study for hours on end without losing track, checking social media, or doing anything else.  The problem can be that the side effects of these stimulants can be quite unfriendly.

Still, the point is that they work in your brain by increasing your levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which stimulates your brain to have more alertness, focus, and faster learning.

prescription drugs

So, this is how Adderall works in a nutshell.

Remember that its use is allowed for ADHD symptoms when prescribed by a doctor.

Buying off-label or black market (street drugs) also doesn’t ensure you that you’re getting the right dosage, a substance of high-quality, or even actual Adderall at all!

The Benefits Of Taking Modafinil

Modafinil works differently than the other stimulants.

Still, it creates similar results. 

You get more wakefulness, more alertness, and improved thinking and perception.  This nootropic has the power of boosting your cognition and overall mental performance.

It’s important to point out that no smart drug will actually make you smarter in the sense of increasing IQ, but they can improve your learning, memory, and thinking capacity for a while.

This wouldn’t increase your IQ but instead optimize how you use your brain.

Now, even though Modafinil is not as aggressive as other stimulants on the brain, you should always be careful when taking something that interferes with your neurotransmitters levels.

Still, if you need something that works for the short-term to boost your cognition in order to finish a project or study for exams, Modafinil can prove to be quite an effective tool for that.

Modafinil Promotes:

  • Wakefulness
  • Alertness
  • Improved Thinking And Perception
  • Better Focus And Learning

So, taking Modafinil (Provigil – label presciption brand name) can be an interesting idea for your short-term nootropic stack.

It’ll help improve your study performance by increasing your capacity to focus on one single task at hand.

Suddenly, you will notice you can study for hours about the same boring topics you couldn’t before.

Can You Buy Modafinil Without a Prescription?

Yes, you can actually buy Modafinil online without a prescription but we only advise doing so if it is legal where you live, so do so at your own risk.

We realize that people will do whatever they want, so either way, it is important to be safe, and try to avoid buying fake Modafinil pills!

Modalert is a 200mg tablet and the most commonly used Modafinil brand out there, but you need to be sure you’re getting the real thing.


That’s why if you are planning to buy Modafinil online, we recommend you buy it from our trusted vendor here:  >> Buy Modalert Online Here

Adderall – The Main Benefits

Adderall is a stimulant, and as with any other stimulant, it will boost your cognition and improve your focus and wakefulness.

This is usually prescribed for people with ADHD symptoms such as the inability to concentrate on something for more than a few seconds.  On healthy adults, it produces results such as better overall brain performance.

Such Adderall benefits include:

  • Increased Focus
  • More Alertness
  • Cognition Boost
  • Heightened sense of wellbeing

Now, the only problem with Adderall is the side effects, which you can readmore  about below.

For now, those are the main benefits you can expect from this prescription smart drug. 

What you need to keep in mind is that when you take Adderall, your mental performance usually does improve because you’re capable of having a form of focus that wasn’t as easy to acheive before.

The problem however, is that sometimes you may spend hours on something that you should not spend more than 5 minutes on.

A common occurrnce / complaint amongst Adderall users is that they had set out to get work done, and for some reason or another got side tracked.  They then wasted all of their laser-focused time on that other (less important) task or thing.

For instance, watching a single YouTube video, only to be sucked into “the related video worm hole vortex” (yes, that is a thing! LOL) for the next 5 or 6 hours… Only to snap out of it later, and realizing they wasted half a day.

Anyways, those are the main benefits of taking Adderall.

Still, as with anything that can alter your current neurotransmitter levels, you should be aware of the side effects.

This is exactly what I’m going to cover in the next sections, so pay attention.

Side Effects Of Modafinil VS Adderall

Modafinil is, technically, non-addictive.

BUT, this is a substance that alters your dopamine levels.   This means that it can cause some type of withdrawal after you’ve been taking it for a while. 

Another thing that you should know is that there are definitely some negative side effects associated with taking Modafinil (Provigil).

They’re considered mild when compared to Adderall’s, but they are side effects nonetheless.

Common Modafinil Side effects Include:

  • Nausea / Loss of Appetite
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea / Upset Stomach
  • Insomnia / Sleeplessness
  • Mid-day Crashes
  • Slight Anxiety
  • Increased Heart rate
  • High Blood Pressure

There are rare cases of life-threatening side effects as well, so it’s important that you consult with a physician before taking Modafinil (OR ANY other nootropic substance!).

Still, we’re talking about a drug, so you should always approach with caution.

These are the main side effects that you can expect when taking Modafinil.

It’s important to keep them in mind while taking it, so you can detrmine whether or not you need to discontinue its use.

Adderall Side Effects (More Apparent VS Modafinil)

Adderall has a much broader selection of side effects, which can make it scarier at first.

As long as you have some kind of medical guidance, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. 

It’s also important to know the side effects so you can expect so that you can pay attention to how well your body is responding to it.

stress and anxiety

Adderall Common Side Effects:

  • Everything that Modafinil had plus…
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dry Mouth
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Insomnia (More common)

Now, the main problem happens with people that have a high sensitivity to stimulants.

In this case, they can develop neurological side effects such as hearing voices, becoming paranoid and even possibly becoming manic.

Most symptoms resolve with the discontinuation of the medication, but a doctor should always be consulted to make sure it doesn’t become permanent.

So, make sure to pay attention to any side effects you have, in case you decide to take it Adderall as a nootropic.

Modafinil VS Adderall – Popular, Yet Powerful Smart Drugs / Nootropics: Final Thoughts…

So, now you know the main differences between Adderall VS Modafinil.

Although Modafinil is gaining popularity since it seems safer than Adderall, it’s important to understand that it’s still a drug that should be used carefully.

Compare the benefits and side effects, and make sure to talk to your physician before taking either one!

About David Gracey

About David Gracey

Founder of

Hey! My name is David Gracey.  I am the brain child of and a Cognitive Brain Function Researcher, Avid Biohacker, Lucid Dreamer, Morning Ritual Master, and Self-Proclaimed Nootropic Junkie of Sorts! 

In other words, I am completely obsessed with anything and everything related to cognitive brain enhancement! 

Whether it's nootropics supplements, challenging brain puzzles, or even meditation techniques, chances are, I've tried it!  This website is my outlet to give back and share what I've learned in the past 15+ years in this field of study. 

You Can Read my Other Posts Here:  David Gracey's Articles 




About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!










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