Quitting drugs and alcohol is a complex process that typically requires the assistance of trained medical professionals and addiction specialists. In addition to receiving in-house counseling and supervision, one of the most important advantages to enrolling in a treatment program at a rehab center is having access to medications that can help make the process of getting clean and remaining drug and alcohol-free much safer and a little easier. For people who are addicted to stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, treatment centers may prescribe modafinil along with an inpatient or outpatient treatment curriculum.
What Is Modafinil?
Commonly used to treat sleep disorders like narcolepsy, Modafinil is a central nervous system stimulant that combats fatigue, promotes wakefulness, and increases concentration. Modafinil is less powerful than amphetamine; however, it can produce a similar effect while causing a comparatively milder degree of arousal in the central nervous system. In addition to treating narcolepsy, other uses include helping people who suffer from sleep apnea or shift disorder remain alert during the appropriate hours and combatting fatigue in patients who have Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Research also suggests Modafinil may also be a complementary therapy to antidepressants in the treatment of severe depression.
How Modafinil Can Support Recovery
Before clients begin a rehab program, most treatment centers require individuals to complete a detox period. People who have long-term addictions or who have more severe dependencies are more likely to have potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Some treatment centers may use modafinil to ease withdrawal symptoms, which can keep clients comfortable during the detox process and help them better avoid the inclination to relapse.
Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Different people who abuse cocaine may experience different withdrawal symptoms. The most common withdrawal symptom is a strong craving or desire to resume cocaine use. Cravings may be driven by the desire to reduce withdrawal symptoms, by the desire to experience the feeling of being high, or by a combination of both. Cocaine withdrawal is also typically marked by intense anxiousness, irritability, or even depression. Fatigue is also a common withdrawal symptom as the stimulant effect of cocaine is often followed by tiredness. Cocaine use also causes the individual to avoid sleep and expend more energy than he or she might otherwise expend while clean and sober. Despite feeling exhausted, people often experience insomnia during cocaine withdrawal. Vivid dreams, difficulty falling asleep, and sleeping at the wrong time of day may also contribute to insomnia during the withdrawal period. People who are going through cocaine withdrawal may also experience a physical agitation or general slowdown in their physical movements.
Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
Amphetamines include prescription drugs like Adderall as well as street drugs like methamphetamine. Individuals may become dependent on amphetamines whether prescribed legally or if the individual abuses meth. Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms may occur if an individual abuses high doses of amphetamines or if the individual abuses the drug over a long period of time. Withdrawal syndrome occurs when the individual abruptly reduces the dose or suddenly stops taking the drug altogether. The initial “crash” period typically lasts the first one to two days following reducing or stopping amphetamine abuse “cold turkey.” Following the initial crash, the individual may experience a longer period of withdrawal symptoms that can last from five days to several weeks. Physiological symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal may include any combination of the following:
- Involuntary twitching and bodily movements
- A slowdown in reaction time and movement
- Potentially unpleasant vivid dreams
- Increased appetite
- General aches and pains
Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS)
In cases in which withdrawal symptoms last longer than two weeks, addiction specialists classify the symptoms as protracted or post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms may remain for up to a year. PAWS symptoms may include:
- Impaired focus or difficulty concentrating
- Lack of self-control
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Sleep problems
- Difficulties with short-term memory
- General physical complaints without origin
Amphetamine withdrawal may also be associated with serious medical complications. Severe medical complications are less common, but some individuals may experience:
- Chest pain, irregular heartbeat, or other cardiac distress
- Bleeding in or around the brain
Modafinil May Treat Certain Cocaine and Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
Drug rehab patients and their families may be surprised to learn that a clinic may be inclined to use a prescription stimulant to help clients overcome addiction to cocaine and amphetamine. However, Modafinil is a stimulant drug that medical professionals consider to have a very low risk for abuse and addiction. Because the drug is less addictive, individuals who have an addiction to more addictive stimulants may be prescribed Modafinil to ease lethargy, daytime sleepiness, and to improve concentration ability. Physicians typically administer the drug in the initial stages of detox and treatment to minimize physiological cravings for more addictive amphetamines. After the client stabilizes and proceeds further into the recovery process, the physician gradually tapers the dose of Modafinil to wean the individual off the prescription drug.
Modafinil as a “Smart Drug”
Modafinil is a member of a class of drugs that enhance an individual’s ability to pay attention. Caffeine is a milder example of a drug that is in the same class. People often misunderstand the term “smart drug” to mean a drug that can actually make a person smarter or enhance their knowledge. Instead, smart drugs merely make it easier for the user to remain alert and focused. In addition to using Modafinil to treat cognitive and physical fatigue in people who are recovering from cocaine and amphetamine addiction, researchers are also evaluating the potential benefits of using the drug to help patients who are addicted to alcohol and benzodiazepine.
Beyond Withdrawal Symptoms
If left unmanaged by a detox center or a qualified substance misuse treatment center specialist, withdrawal may otherwise pose a significant obstacle to disrupting the cycle of drug use and addiction. With the help of medication, mental health support, and holistic treatments, rehab clients can proceed into their treatment program and learn the critical skills that will help them continue on their individual path of recovery. Clients typically proceed from the detox phase to an inpatient or outpatient treatment center.
Inpatient Residential Treatment
People who have an addiction to cocaine or amphetamines are often recommended to complete an inpatient or residential treatment program. During inpatient treatment, clients reside at the treatment center at which they receive counseling and participate in planned therapeutic and social activities. Clients who require Modafinil to ease withdrawal symptoms may need to continue to take the prescribed medication during the initial days and possibly weeks of inpatient rehab. Participating in an onsite program allows clinicians and staff members to be more attentive to clients’ medical needs and withdrawal symptoms and adjust dosages as needed. Most residential programs last at least 30 days, while some are longer term. When clients graduate from a residential treatment program, they typically proceed to a less-structured outpatient or hybrid program.
Clients may receive a referral to an outpatient treatment program if they do not require a highly structured treatment program or if they have successfully completed inpatient treatment. Individuals who have work or family obligations that prevent them from residing onsite at a treatment center for several weeks may also receive a referral to outpatient treatment. Individuals who enroll in an outpatient program because they are unable to attend inpatient treatment may still require medical support for withdrawal symptoms. In these cases, Modafinil may help outpatients avoid cravings for their drug of choice when they are away from the treatment center. The prescription drug may also help them avoid fatigue and a general lack of motivation that may otherwise make attending outpatient sessions more challenging.
Potential Side Effects of Modafinil
Modafinil is well-tolerated by most people. Nevertheless, side effects may occur. The most common side effects include:
- High blood pressure
- Dry mouth
Most patients do not experience an adverse reaction. However, if side effects occur, patients should immediately inform their doctor. In some cases, a patient may be allergic to Modafinil. Patients who experience an allergic reaction should immediately discontinue use and consult their doctor.
Is It Possible Take Too Much Modafinil?
Modafinil is available in the form of 100 mg and 200 mg tablets. The recommended dose is 200 mg once a day. However, patients may take as much as 400 mg once a day as a single dose with positive results. Taking a larger dose does not appear to have additional therapeutic benefit. Studies indicate adverse reactions may occur if an individual takes a very large dose. Overdose symptoms include:
- Anxiety, agitation, or excitation
- Change in blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
There are recorded cases of Modafinil causing death when taken in excess in combination with other drugs. However, there are no recorded cases of Modafinil causing death when taken in excess alone.
Can Modafinil Be Abused?
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency classifies Modafinil as a Schedule IV controlled substance, which typically indicates a drug is considered to have a very low potential for abuse or dependency. Despite the DEA’s classification of Modafinil, there is evidence that suggests the prescription stimulant may be addictive. While research indicates people who use Modafinil may develop a low-level tolerance to the drug, research findings are mixed regarding associated withdrawal symptoms. Researchers believe if there are physical withdrawal symptoms associated with ceasing the use of Modafinil, the effects are likely relatively mild. However, the existence of mild withdrawal symptoms may lead to physiological withdrawal symptoms that drive individuals to continue using the drug to achieve the effect they experienced at a lower dose. Students have increasingly begun using Modafinil for its concentration-enhancing effect. Therefore, very chronic use of the prescription drug among students and others may lead to reports of individuals being diagnosed with substance misuse-related issues.
Treatment for Cocaine and Amphetamine Addiction
For individuals who use highly addictive stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine, help is available. Not only can quitting cold turkey reduce trigger continued substance misuse, but detoxing off of cocaine and amphetamine can be physiologically uncomfortable and even medically dangerous if attempted alone. Granite Recovery Centers is available to help you safely and more comfortably complete the detox phase of your recovery process. We also offer inpatient, outpatient, and hybrid program options along with a variety of traditional and holistic therapies to support your overall wellness and recovery. Don’t let the stigma of addiction stop you from getting help. Call us today to learn how we can support you in finally overcoming addiction.