Opinion is certainly divided on the pros and cons of taking Modafinil. Also known as Provgil, Alertec, Modavigil and Modalert – Modafinil is rapidly becoming the best known of all the so called ‘smart-drug’ on the market as well as a market leader in the treatment of sleeping disorders. Modafinil is referred to as a smart-drug as it is one of a new breed of perfectly legal drugs that has the ability to make you smarter, not smarter in terms of the way you dress, but in terms of your capacity to assimilate and learn things.
The development of Modafinil
Narcolepsy Drug Modafinil
Modafinil was originally designed to treat people with sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an illness where people find it difficult to stay awake, falling asleep at inopportune moments such as when at work or when out socializing. Modafinil is an analeptic drug, which means that it was designed to stimulate the central nervous system to prevent narcolepsy patients from falling asleep when not resting naturally. Although it works similarly to an older style of stimulant drug known as an amphetamine, it is not an amphetamine itself as it raises the levels of hypothalamic histamines and subsequently does not carry the addictive risks of that older drug. It is the ability of Modafinil to maintain wakefulness that first brought it to the attention of students needing to work longer hours than usual when either preparing for exams or completing assignments. Apart from allowing them to stay awake for longer periods of time attending to their studies, they noticed no decline in their abilities to either work or learn when taking Modafinil- as would have been experienced using the older stimulants like amphetamines. Some studies of students even supported claims that students taking Modafinil were able to increase their cognitive abilities compared to when not using it.
Should students without a sleeping disorder be taking Modafinil?
Taking Modafinil in the treatment of sleeping disorders is not under any question. It has been found to be a most effective drug not just for narcolepsy but also for obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome and even simple shift work sleeping disorders. However, the question as to whether or not students should be allowed to take Modafinil has been the subject of much discussion in the media and over the internet. So, the following gives you some insight as to the current thinking on the pros and cons of taking Modafinil for the purposes of enhancing your studies as opposed using it for the treatment of a sleeping disorder.
Three cons against students taking Modafinil
One point that is always made is the old chestnut that taking drugs unnecessarily should be avoided on health grounds, particularly due to the health risks of the known side-effects from taking Modafinil. Secondly, often cited as the major argument put forward against students taking Modafinil, is that if they can’t attain a certain mark/grade by their own intellect and hard work they shouldn’t be allowed to do so by using an ‘artificial’ drug. Finally the ‘moral dimension’ is also put forward that a student taking Modafinil is actually cheating, cheating themselves and cheating their fellow students; not to mention of course picking up on that previous point here – cheating the universities marking/grading system.
Answering those cons – the pros of taking Modafinil
Now the point about side-effects is an important point and, before embarking on a course of Modafinil, you should check with a medical advisor that you are suitable to it. Having said that for the vast majority of young and healthy students, when their medical advisors review their medical history, the risks of suffering any of the side-effects will be found to be very small indeed. The second and third arguments put up against students taking Modafinil can be dealt with as one. Some students will always have an advantage over others when it comes to attaining success in their studies with or without Modafinil. If that success comes purely from their natural innate ability – then good for them. However, if it comes from being able to afford extra personal tuition, what then of the student who is economically less advantaged? What if one student by some quirk of nature has the ability to stay awake naturally and alert for extreme periods of time whilst studying – does that mean they are more capable than another student and is it fair that others should be denied the opportunity to compete on a ‘time’ basis with them by taking Modafinil? Regarding cheating, well sadly that is just an inherent part of some people’s make-up, but surely taking Modafinil cannot be compared to things like paying someone else to complete their assignments or blatantly ripping off someone else’s work? So, in our opinion, arguments against students taking Modafinil are very difficult if not impossible to sustain.