ClickCease

Dangers of Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: August 27th, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Modafinil is a wakefulness medication most often used in conjunction with sleep disorders. While it has many legitimate medical uses, some people use it off-label to help with energy and concentration. Regardless of the reason you’re using it, you might be wondering if you can drink alcohol while using this medication or if there are dangerous side effects. We will go over what modafinil is used for, both its legitimate and off-label uses, the dangers of mixing it with alcohol and treatment options if you are facing modafinil addiction.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a generic medication that is classified as a wakefulness-promoting agent. This is because it allows you to feel more awake and alert shortly after taking the medication. Unlike some similar medications that make you feel energetic and alert, modafinil does not use amphetamine. Many people consider this a smoother medication as the alertness is more even and consistent.

Surprisingly enough, it’s not entirely known why modafinil works, but the drug is able to increase dopamine in the brain. This is done by blocking the transporters that usually move dopamine around. It allows more dopamine to build up, which makes you feel more energetic and alert.

Modafinil’s Medical Uses

Modafinil is prescribed to help with sleep disorders. It is most commonly prescribed for narcolepsy, sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder. It may also be prescribed for other sleep disorders as needed. While this medication is exclusively prescribed for sleep disorders, it does not actually treat these conditions.

Many sleep disorders result in the person feeling tired throughout the day. This makes it hard to function at work, at school and in social situations. Modafinil was made to help ease these symptoms by making you feel more alert and awake. While this drug does not replace actual sleep, it does help you function in regular environments. It may not entirely get rid of sleepiness, but it should still make the waking hours easier to navigate while you get treatment for a sleep disorder.

Modafinil Abuse

While modafinil has many legitimate medical uses, there are some people who use it because it boosts energy and focus. Modafinil makes users feel awake, so it has become common as a study drug. While students commonly use it, it’s also used by others who feel tired from work or anyone who wants to stop feeling sluggish.

Despite offering smoother energy support than amphetamines, modafinil can still be habit-forming. If you are having difficulties controlling your use, you are using modafinil for non-prescription purposes, or find yourself using increasingly higher doses of modafinil, then we want you to know that there is help available. We can assist in your recovery from dependency.

Modafinil Side Effects

Modafinil can cause side effects on its own even if you don’t combine it with alcohol. This is common for any medication. While it’s important to learn about the most common side effects, also note that you can experience a completely different symptom. If anything feels different or you’re experiencing a symptom you’ve never had before, then call your doctor and let them know.

The most common side effects of modafinil use include:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea, constipation, gas, nausea or heartburn
  • Reduced appetite
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Dizziness
  • Flushing and sweating
  • Excessive thirst
  • Back pain

Most of the side effects are considered mild, but there is a chance that you may experience a severe side effect. Just be mindful of any symptoms that come up and talk to your doctor if anything happens while taking modafinil.

Modafinil Overdose

While the chances of an overdose are low if you are following the doctor’s orders, it can still happen if you are on a higher dose. This most commonly happens to those who are taking higher doses than prescribed. In either case, some of the overdose symptoms might seem similar to the side effects, but they are often more severe.

The most common modafinil overdose symptoms are:

  • Severe difficulties falling asleep
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Fast or slow heartbeat
  • Chest pains

If you experience these or any other severe symptoms, then reach out to emergency medical services or call your doctor for further instructions.

Mixing Alcohol and Modafinil

Many medications come with the warning that you should not consume alcohol while using them. This can lead to interactions or side effects that you do not want to experience. It’s important to learn about the dangers of mixing modafinil and alcohol.

While doctors do not recommend it and state that you should not combine the two substances, the specific side effects that come with taking modafinil and alcohol are not definitive at this time. It seems that more studies are needed on the subject, but it is still recommended that you avoid consuming alcohol while using modafinil. It may increase the chances of experiencing side effects, so it’s best to stay safe and avoid mixing the two.

Modafinil Addiction

Modafinil was originally considered to not be addictive, but this has changed. Resources such as Medline report that modafinil can become habit-forming. This is especially true if you use the medication in higher doses than prescribed or if you use it for non-prescription purposes.

For example, if you don’t have a sleep disorder but use the drug to increase your energy or alertness, then this increases the odds of experiencing an addiction. Even those who use it legitimately could become dependent on the feeling of alertness and wakefulness. While the addiction rate is considered low compared to other medications, it does still have the potential for addiction, and some people struggle to come off modafinil or control their usage.

Medical Detox

If you are having trouble controlling your modafinil use or are experiencing unpleasant side effects, then a medical detox could be helpful. At Granite Recovery Centers, our medical detox program connects you with qualified doctors as they oversee your drug discontinuation process. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

This typically involves tapering off the medication and monitoring your side effects. The taper schedule will usually be adjusted based on the presence and severity of any withdrawal side effects. Depending on how the medical detox goes, you may also be prescribed other medications that help ease the symptoms.

While some people find that detox is enough for them, many need additional support to help handle any cravings or triggers that result in using modafinil again. We can create a treatment plan tailored to your needs so that you can form a lasting recovery.

Individual or Group Sessions

Many people benefit from individual or group therapy sessions to help with modafinil dependency or any other substance use. Both of these levels of care allow you to explore your cravings and triggers while also helping you discover coping skills so that you can better manage your stress.

Individual treatment often comes in the form of outpatient treatment. Engaging in this level of care means that you typically have a weekly one-hour session with your therapist. Some clients need two weekly sessions, but one is the norm. This allows you to comfortably explore yourself and find out what led to the difficulty with modafinil use. The sessions also help you learn adequate coping skills for your recovery.

If outpatient care isn’t enough, then you may want to consider intensive outpatient treatment. This includes three weekly group sessions that each last three hours. You will meet with a trained counselor and peers who are going through recovery just like you. While you all come from different backgrounds and may have been attracted to different substances, therapy sessions allow you to learn from each other. It’s common for members to learn coping skills from each other along with finding out that there are others going through similar struggles and difficulties.

It is also common for these treatment levels to be combined, which allows you to experience the benefits of group therapy while also having time to talk individually with your therapist. Let our staff know your needs and preferences so that we can craft a treatment plan specifically for you.

Higher Levels of Care

If outpatient treatment doesn’t seem to be enough, or if you are using multiple substances and have difficulty controlling your use, then you may need a higher level of care. In that case, you may want to consider partial hospitalization or residential treatments. They are similar in many ways, with you living temporarily at our facility, but the amount of time you stay differs between these two levels of care.

Both of these treatments involve staying at our facility to help you get away from your stressors. This is ideal if your environment is not supportive of recovery, if people are using around you or if the stressors of your home environment immediately cause cravings. You will be able to participate in individual counseling, group therapy and other activities that will help you recover from modafinil or any other substance.

Partial hospitalization allows you to stay only during the day. You can then work or meet with friends and family after treatment. You can also go home to sleep in your own bed.

Residential treatment means that you stay at the facility both day and night. This ensures that you can get away from your environment if it is causing you too much stress.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

Dual-diagnosis treatment means that we simultaneously address mental health concerns and substance use. Many people come to treatment with multiple disorders occurring at once. Some are aware that they have a coexisting mental illness while others are unaware of this. We can help properly diagnose you and treat both disorders if they are present.

It has been found that many people who use substances are self-medicating a mental illness. For example, some people might be using modafinil to fight the brain fog and lethargy commonly associated with depression. This may or may not describe your current situation. In either case, we want you to know that we are prepared to address your concerns and treat you with respect.

Seek Help Today

While the research is currently unclear about the exact dangers of mixing modafinil and alcohol, doctors are telling patients to avoid mixing the two out of fear that this could exacerbate side effects. If you find yourself having difficulty controlling your modafinil usage, using more than prescribed or using it for non-prescription reasons, then we are here to help. We can assist with medical detox, therapy and nearly anything else that you need.

Contact Granite Recovery Centers today, and we will create a treatment plan specifically for your needs and concerns. We treat all our clients with respect no matter where they are with their recovery journey.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.