Can Modafinil Cure Cocaine Addiction?

The Modvigil Blog continues to explore potential uses for Modafinil. After discussing how Modafinil can help with fatigue related to MS and Cancer treatments, as well as how it may prove useful for depressed adults and children with ADHD, I’d like to take a look at yet another area currently under development.

A small preliminary study has shown that Modafinil seems to help patients to overcome their addiction to cocaine. Cocaine addiction affects thousands of people worldwide. Like any other serious addiction, cocaine can wreak havoc on the addict’s life in numerous ways. Often the first thing we think of when we contemplate addiction to drugs is the financial aspect.  Users will often go to incredible lengths to procure more product, and may find themselves completely destitute financially after a short period of time. Addiction also has serious physical implications, especially when stimulants are involved. Addicts grow malnourished and sickly due to a lack of proper nutrient intake. Late-stage addiction often includes mental problems as well, such as hallucinations or violent mood swings.

It’s easy to laugh off drug addiction as something that is irrelevant and distant from our personal lives. Not all of us are Charlie Sheen after all. But an estimated 2 million Americans used cocaine in the last month, and roughly 20% of those were using crack cocaine, a much more concentrated and dangerous form. Crack cocaine nearly always leads to addiction, while regular powder cocaine is a bit more hit and miss. Regardless, the drug is far more prevalent than many people realize.

Cocaine addiction is difficult to treat, as is any addiction. There is no one singular cure, no magic pill. However that may be starting to change.

How can Modafinil Help Cocaine Addiction?

This is a subject of much debate, even among the clinical researchers themselves. Modafinil’s method of action is still not quite precisely understood, and therefore how it interferes with cocaine’s method of action is somewhat unclear. However if we compare what cocaine does to what Modafinil does, we might start to see some interesting correlations. Cocaine increases the amount of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the body. Each of these has a distinct function in cells. Dopamine for instance increases mental alertness, while suppressing appetite. Norepinephrine increases concentration and persistence. Serotonin produces a pleasurable effect with insensitivity to pain and also causes relaxation.

Research has shown Modafinil to also increase the concentration of these same neurotransmitters. While cocaine does it in a more abrupt, all around way, Modafinil seems to do so in a more specialized or localized way. In other words, cocaine affects the entire brain and even the body, while Modafinil appears to affect only parts of the brain in similar ways, and much less in the body.

It’s been suggested that because Modafinil produces a similar, albeit quite different effect, it satisfies the body’s cravings for cocaine and allows users to escape from addiction’s clutches. This seems like a plausible explanation.

Perhaps the answer is more mental, rather than chemical. Modafinil, as anyone who has tried it or has read this blog knows, tends to increase attention, concentration, and ultimately motivation. People simply get things done on Modafinil. It could be that a recovering addict, who sincerely is trying to avoid relapsing into abuse again, is more convicted and dedicated to reaching that goal when he uses Modafinil. This explanation matches with some of the patients’ statements. While the effect could be nothing more than placebo, it merits further examination.

A third theory is that Modafinil reduces or even completely suppresses the effects of other drugs. Users on reddit and other forums have often commented that marijuana seems less potent when they are taking Modafinil. Similar comments have been made regarding cocaine. In my anecdotal experiences with companions who have taken Modafinil in addition to other substances, the results are generally in line with other findings.

Should you take Modafinil if you have a drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a serious situation that needs to be addressed by professionals with expertise and experience in rehabilitation. However it’s worth mentioning that drug addiction, while a consequence of a physical dependency, can only be conquered by mental fortitude. Your body will not miraculously free itself of addiction unless you take control of the situation. Modafinil may be able to help with that, and the research will continue. The jury is still out as to whether Modafinil can really cure cocaine addiction, or any other addiction for that matter, but the results are highly encouraging.

Bookmark the Modvigil Blog and we’ll keep you up to date on the latest developments regarding this, and any other news about Modafinil.

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