Does Modafinil Help You Focus?

Written on February 13, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

Modafinil is a prescription medication used to help people who have narcolepsy or sleep apnea.

Modafinil has been shown in some studies to be effective in treating ADHD as well.

This prescription medication has received some media attention because of its potential effect of focused energy, which has led some college students and others, who don't have prescriptions for this drug, to buy it illegally.

How Modafinil Affects Focus

Modafinil works by affecting specific chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. Specifically, it affects the neurotransmitter called dopamine, and also acts on glutamate receptors.

Dopamine plays an important role in your motivation and pleasure-seeking behaviors. In fact, some experts even believe that modafinil may cause addiction.

Glutamate receptors are found throughout your brain. Some of these receptors help change levels of other neurotransmitter chemicals while others respond to environmental stimuli.

Modafinil causes a release of dopamine. It does this by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine. After the release, some receptors on your neurons become overstimulated and then downregulate. This downregulation causes you to have feelings of euphoria and motivation.

It is also thought that modafinil may upregulate glutamate receptors, which is similar to the effect caused by amphetamine medications such as Adderall and Ritalin.

With modafinil, you may notice that it is easier to focus and pay attention to your work. Researchers believe that this is due to the fact that this medication increases dopamine.

Your motivation levels will also be increased, which can lead you to concentrate on mundane tasks for longer periods of time.

This effect lasted for about 8 hours after the drug was taken. Modafinil was also found effective at increasing attention in ADHD patients, even if they had been taking conventional ADHD medications like Ritalin or Adderall long-term.

The benefits of modafinil on focus may be due to how it affects glutamate receptors. This is because these receptors are highly expressed in the frontal cortex region of your brain, which is where all cognitive functions are handled.

Modafinil may also have an effect on dopamine by first inhibiting its reuptake, which can cause the release of dopamine into the synapses.

The release causes massive flooding of neurotransmitters into your neurons, which leads you to feel more motivated and happy.