Modafinil And Alcohol – Is This Combination Worth It?

Combining modafinil with alcohol is something that many people are concerned about.

After all, mixing a sedative substance with a stimulant one can be confusing to the body, right?

Here in this article we explore the different things to think about when you are considering whether or not you should drink alcohol while you are taking modafinil.

alcoholic drinks

modafinil tablets

How Modafinil Works In The Body

Modafinil works by amplifying certain dopamine responses in certain brain regions.

This is how it creates its stimulant effects that people like so much.

This is also why you may be concerned about combining Modafinil with Alcohol.

After all – both substances have substantial effects on the dopamine system.

dopamine circuit in brain neurons

On the one hand, Modafinil upsets the balance of certain messenger substances that are there to transmit stimuli between nerve cells.

As the dose increases, Modafinil ensures that stimuli are amplified and our nerve cells are more active.

How Alcohol Works In The Body

Alcohol exerts its effects through a variety of different neurotransmitters.

When we drink alcohol, part of it gets into the blood through the mucous membrane in the mouth. Then it goes on to the stomach, where another part is absorbed. Most alcohol absorption takes place in the small intestine. It is conducted into the blood via the mucous membranes there.

The blood carries alcohol throughout the body. The concentration in the blood peaks 30 to 60 minutes after drinking . This means that if we drink a glass of wine, for example, the concentration of alcohol in the blood through this one glass is highest after half an hour to an hour. After that, the alcohol slowly breaks down again. Assuming we stop drinking after the glass. Whoever continues to drink maintains the level or even increases it.

bottles of alcohol

How Alcohol Can Be Harmful

It’s often said that every high kills tens of thousands of nerve cells. It’s probably not that bad. You might think that a babbling, stumbling drunk would lose brain mass.
These dropouts in motor skills, language and thinking ability are initially due to the miscommunication between the nerve cells . Alcohol slows down the transmission of stimuli between the nerve cells greatly.

But once the intoxication is over, the brain returns to its former capacity.

Alcohol Can Kill Brain Cells

First of all, there is a communication problem in the brain, but not immediately a dying off of brain mass . Comparisons between abstainers and people who drink more often have shown that the brain performance of the drinkers is not worse. And animal studies don’t support the myth that brain cells actually die from an occasional high.

That can change over time. Because alcohol is a cell poison that does not stop at nerve cells. Anyone who regularly drinks a lot can actually suffer brain damage – but there is no specific limit above which this happens. They are expressed, for example, in character changes, but concentration can also be impaired and the ability to remember worse.

It is not currently established in the scientific literature whether or not someone who is using Modafinil would be more or less prone to the effects of damage that alcohol can exert on the body.

Alcohol probably damages the memory of young people more quickly . Because the brain continues to develop long after birth, it is probably only fully mature more than 20 years after birth. A study from the USA showed that adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19 were impaired in certain areas of the brain if they had been drunk several times. The alcohol had affected the developmental phase of their brains in such a way that they had more memory problems than their non-drinking peers.

An interesting side point is that Modafinil may be able to repair certain damaged brain cells.

Alcohol Can Damage The Liver

The liver also changes with alcohol consumption. The first breakdown product of alcohol, acetaldehyde, is an even worse poison than alcohol itself. Since it is produced in the liver, it causes massive damage to the liver cells, especially there. Initially, the liver reacts by storing and enlarging fat – fatty liver develops.

This happens when men consume more than 30 grams of alcohol every day over a longer period of time. That corresponds to 300 milliliters of wine or 600 milliliters of beer. For women, the critical threshold is only half as high.

The good news: fatty liver is reversible. If you stop drinking again, your liver will recover as well over time. Usually it only lasts a few weeks.

It is not possible to say in general terms how long one is “allowed” to have been drinking beforehand so that the liver can return to its normal state. Because not only alcohol promotes fatty liver. The enzyme composition in the organ itself, previous illnesses, medication, obesity and a high-calorie diet with little exercise (even in slim people) can promote the formation of a fatty liver. Since a fatty liver does not cause any symptoms, it is usually only noticed when a doctor does an ultrasound, for example.

Keep in mind that Modafinil is also metabolized via the liver (mainly via amide hydrolysis, with lesser contributions from cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated oxidative pathways).

So if you are consuming both alcohol and Modafinil at the same time, the toll on your liver is another thing to think about.

If you continue drinking, the stress on your liver is so great that it becomes inflamed . Cells die, scars appear. This can culminate in liver cirrhosis : Then the organ hardens, scars completely and shrinks. It can no longer perform its detoxification function – and this not only affects the breakdown of alcohol, but also gradually affects the rest of the body. This condition is incurable.

There is also damage to other organs, which can lead to a number of diseases, some with serious consequences: heart muscle disease, high blood pressure, cancer (especially in the digestive tract, but also breast cancer, for example) or inflammation of other organs such as the stomach or pancreas.

Severe memory lapses (a.ka. Korsakoff syndrome)

The syndrome is a particularly bad consequence of drinking too much alcohol(to say the least). It is probably caused by the toxic effect of alcohol on nerve cells, but especially by malnutrition. This is because the most extreme heavy alcoholics eventually only cover their energy needs with alcohol. Also, their stomach can develop disorders that prevent them from absorbing nutrients normally. This leads to deficiencies, for example of vitamin B1(also known as thiamin). The result: brain cells die off – and memory is severely impaired.

Factors That Determine How Quickly Alcohol & Modafinil Take Effect

Modafinil’s half-life is well-established but can vary depending on a variety of factors.

And the same is true with alcohol.

Of course, one key factor is this: the more we drink, the more drunk we get. How much someone can basically tolerate is very individual. However, a few parameters can be used to roughly predict how quickly alcohol takes effect.

Body Weight

Larger and heavier people feel the effects of alcohol and modafinil later than smaller and lighter people.

Women tolerate less alcohol in general. Their liver usually has fewer alcohol-breaking enzymes, and their body fat percentage is higher than that of men. Since alcohol does not go into fatty tissue, it is distributed among less liquid in the female body. This is why the exact concentration of alcohol in the blood of women is higher than that of men, even if both have drunk the same amount of alcohol.

Modafinil’s gender-specific effects are not well known at this time.

Anyone who drinks a lot often has to increase the dose over time in order to notice something.

And it is the exact same way with Modafinil.

Physical Condition

For example, if we drink on an empty stomach, the alcohol enters the blood faster. Anyone who has eaten something beforehand slows down the effect a bit. But that doesn’t mean that we get less drunk thanks to a full stomach. It just takes longer.

When it comes to Modafinil, some people react to it differently than others and this is probably mostly due to genetics – but the way the dopamine system is effected in the brain can also have to do with a person’s physical condition.

Will The Modafinil & Alcohol Combination Result In More Introverted Or Extroverted Behavior?

When it comes to this question, it really all comes down to the individual.

This has to do with the influence of alcohol on the messenger substances in the brain.

There is a messenger substance in the brain, gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA for short.

It inhibits the transmission of stimuli between nerve cells – and is normally in balance with another messenger substance, glutamate, which stimulates the transmission of stimuli. Modafinil’s effects on glutamate have been studied several times.

The alcohol now shifts the balance between the two substances in such a way that the inhibiting GABA binds more to the nerve cells and the stimulating glutamate less. However, this process has no inhibitory effect on the outside, on the contrary: drunk people become less anxious as a result.

Since dopamine is also released, this promotes sociability. Keep in mind that Modafinil also effects dopamine directly.

The messenger substance has a rewarding effect on the brain.

There are various theories as to why some people even become aggressive under alcohol. Many experiments on this have so far been carried out on animals and are therefore not directly transferrable to humans. But it probably also has something to do with the imbalance of messenger substances in the brain.

For example, GABA also inhibits the transmission of stimuli in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region involved in emotional regulation.

Regardless of the alcohol, people who have suffered injuries to this brain region suffer from emotional processing disorders. They react more quickly aggressively or even become violent. A behavior that is also known from many drunk people.

Based on this information, we think it is likely that most people become more extroverted when combining alcohol and modafinil.

However, there have been anecdotal reports by some people who claimed to experience more introversion(though they were in the minority).

Can Modafinil Be Good For Hangovers?

Modafinil may indeed reduce hangover symptoms in certain individuals.

This has not been clarified to this day. The degradation products of alcohol are particularly suspect, above all acetaldehyde, which is even more toxic than the alcohol itself.
What could increase the hangover are so-called fusel oils . This refers to substances that are produced as by-products during fermentation. Exactly what effect they have is not entirely clear. However, they are increasingly contained in beer or wine and less in spirits.

Dehydration could also be related to hangover symptoms. This also explains why we can feel better the next day if we drink water from time to time while partying.

It is not yet known whether or not taking Modafinil before or after drinking is actually best for helping with hangover symptoms.

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