Addiction Risk Seen in Wakefulness Drug Provigil (and Ritalin)

Healthy people are starting to use stimulants to help them stay “alert.” And lo and behold, studies are showing that they are addictive. It’s time to wake up world! ALL psychotropics are addictive or if you’re one of the hair-splitters, all psychotropics can lead to dependency and/or severe withdrawal issues. ALL OF THEM, stimulants, sedatives, tranquilizers, benzos, mood stabilizers, neuroleptics, antidepressants and anything I might have left out. Severity of addiction/dependency and/or withdrawal syndromes vary greatly from individual to individual but it’s a very real and dangerous risk for everyone.

From WebMD today:

Provigil promotes wakefulness without getting you hooked. But now it seems that addiction may very well be a Provigil risk.

Provigil (generic name, modafinil) is FDA approved for promoting wakefulness in people with narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. Because of its relatively benign safety profile, it’s often prescribed “off label” for people complaining of fatigue.

Some prominent scientists have suggested that responsible, healthy adults should be allowed to use safer stimulant drugs such as Provigil and even Ritalin to boost intellectual creativity.

But now researchers led by Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), report evidence that Provigil might be more addictive than thought.

“There is an increasing use of this medication, and people have promoted the off-label use of stimulants and Provigil as cognitive enhancers with the belief that these drugs are safe,” Volkow tells WebMD. “But these drugs have side effects, and their use without proper medical oversight could lead to abuse and addiction.”

6 thoughts on “Addiction Risk Seen in Wakefulness Drug Provigil (and Ritalin)

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  1. oh and it made ME feel like I was on speed!! so I imagine for some it might have street value..

    seroquel, for god’s sake has street value and is a hot drug in prisons and kids snort it but you won’t find much info on that either!!

    seroquel is NOT a fun drug…but it still has appeal to addicts…having taken provigil myself I’m sure it has an abuse potential…whether or not YOU had problems with it.


  2. no i don’t think I’m crying wolf…I have been addicted to this drug and know others…there are no studies in general about the nature of ALL psychotropics…

    not everyone responds the same…I’m glad you had no problems getting off of it, but it’s simply not the case for many and lack of studies just prove pharma’s lack of interest in protecting us.

    there are no studies about the withdrawal syndromes most of the readers of this blog have experienced…that doesn’t make our experience less valid.


  3. So there is a study that comes out and says that modafinil MAY have a potential for addiction. On the other hand, no actual case of addiction has been reported in medical journals. From :

    “”What is Provigil’s street value? It is zero. There are not addicts walking around buying and selling modafinil,” Weinshenker tells WebMD. “Most people who take Provigil don’t report euphoria or being high. They don’t even report feeling particularly stimulated, like caffeine. In terms of addiction and withdrawal, it just doesn’t do that.”

    Weinshenker notes that because of Provigil’s relative safety, its possible benefits are being explored for a wide number of disorders, including ADHD, autism, and depression. He says the drug offers a major benefit over amphetamine-like stimulants in that it promotes wakefulness without the sleep rebound — a need for extra sleep when the drug wears off.”

    I’ve been taking modafinil for 2 years and I did not experience tolerance or withdrawal (if I stop I’m just tired like I was before taking it, that’s it).

    Aren’t you crying wolf?


  4. My sleep doc gave me samples of Provigil after she decided I dealt with daytime sleepiness. (It usually got pretty bad at 2 pm but I think that was more a product of my work environment than anything else.) I think I saw some of Provigil’s side effects and what it was used for and tossed the samples out. She said it wasn’t addictive but… oh well. Glad I never took it.


  5. Hi Gianna! I’m new to your blog, and I love it! I am so sorry you have had to go through what you have been through, but know that you have helped many people along the way!
    I am currently being treated for my “bipolar” illness with 4 different drugs- one of which is provigil. I suffered a brain injury some years back and have a lot of cognitive issues- which are made worse by the psychotropic drugs I currently take. Although I think provigil has helped me, I know that I am addicted. I use it mostly to offset the side effects of the other drugs! I have come off some of my drugs and it was hell as you describe. Not looking forward to the future of coming off the rest. I’m hoping I can find a doc that will support this idea of being drug free.
    I really appreciate your story and how you share your journey with all of us. I hope that one day I will be drug free, happy and heathy and end this vicious cycle of drug dependancy…….. Thankyou. Tasha


    1. hey Tasha,
      Nice to meet you.
      I want you to know not everyone has the severe problems I have coming off drugs so don’t let my story scare you too much but it works as a cautionary tale I think for those considering drugs…it’s worth looking into alternatives, isn’t it?

      I wish you much luck in coming off meds some day if you choose to do that. I do encourage you to educate yourself and find providers that will cooperate with you (that usually means they need to be willing to LEARN FROM YOU because most docs just don’t know what’s up when it comes to this)

      My about page is a great spring board to help you start thinking about alternatives. The recovery stories pages too. (all at the top of the blog)

      Also for support with others like us there is the social network that accompanies this blog…check it out if you are interested.

      best to you!



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