Does Modafinil Help With Depression?
There are many uses for the drug Modafinil, with one of the latest being to treat depression symptoms. The early results are positive, but does Modafinil help with depression? We’ll go into detail about depression, Modafinil, and the connection between the two in this article.
What is Modafinil Used For?
Modafinil is officially used as a prescription medication for attention deficit disorder (ADD and ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is effective at treating these conditions because of how it interacts with brain neurochemicals.
How Modafinil Affects the Brain;
- Increases dopamine levels
- Increases releases of histamine
- Increases norepinephrine levels
- Stimulates orexin release
These effects are useful for boosting wakefulness in the brain. All the neurotransmitters that the drug affects produce a stimulating effect. They are also connected to other areas of cognition, affecting appetite, memory, concentration, and mood.
Common Uses of Modafinil:
- Artists to break through creative slumps
- Corporate employees to increase productivity
- Students to study and finish their projects on time
- Fighter pilots and special forces in the military on overnight missions
- Athletes to boost their performance
- eSports professionals to get an edge over competition
There are lots of different ways in which Modafinil offers a temporary performance boost to users.
There are other benefits to stimulating the brain too, one of which is treating depression.
Depression and Modafinil – An Overview
One problem with depression is that there is no single cause. Our best understanding of the condition defines it as being a serotonin or dopamine deficiency. Depression is primarily treated using antidepressants that affect serotonin levels, known as SNRIs and SSRIs. They are considered to be the first part of treatment for patients.
These medications won’t work for everyone though. Recent studies suggest that up to a third of all depression patients don’t respond properly to antidepressants.
It’s estimated that 15% of the world’s population are dealing with depression. Taking those two statistics together suggests around 366 million people with depression don’t respond to their medication. That’s why we must find new methods of treatment.
If serotonin-boosting antidepressants aren’t getting the job done, the next logical step is dopamine boosters. Given that the main use of Modafinil is to increase dopamine concentration for ADHD patients, it makes an interesting candidate for treating depression.
Where to Get Modafinil?
Most people typically get Modafinil by buying it online. Purchasing from an online vendor like this makes buying Modafinil – whether you have a prescription or not – simple.
Even someone who holds a Modafinil prescription can benefit from purchasing it online. That’s because many pharmacies attach brand names to the drug – such as Alertec and Provigil. They can cost anywhere up to 100 times as much as basic Modafinil – which is cheaper and available through sites like ModafinilXL.com – despite being the exact same thing.
The Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a rather common condition and it presents with a variety of symptoms, including:
- Decreased/increased appetite
- Low libido
- Weight loss/gain
- Trouble concentrating
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Low productivity
- Poor motivation
- Social isolation
Modafinil and Depression
Modafinil has several unique benefits for depression. It can be used as a supplementary treatment alongside regular medications, or it could be used by itself to treat the symptoms and causes of depression.
If you are considering Modafinil for depression then you should always consult a doctor first, especially if you are severely depressed or already on medication.
Modafinil and Dopamine
The brain is full of neurotransmitters, of which dopamine is incredibly important. It is used to regulate different regions of the brain including things such as memory, homeostasis (balance), forming and breaking habits, libido, autonomous nervous function (breathing, heartbeat, etc.), the reward center, and also mood regulation.
Most traditional antidepressants are designed with a focus on serotonin. While serotonin is important for regulating mood and some people do suffer from serotonin imbalances, it isn’t the only neurotransmitter that plays a part in depression. This explains when some Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) may not treat depression in some individuals.
Other symptoms of low dopamine include:
- Trouble concentration
- Inability to effectively manage stress
- Excessive fidgeting
- Low sex drive
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
How Modafinil Affects Dopamine
Modafinil works by preventing transporters from reabsorbing dopamine after it has been released by the synapse (DAT). This leads to a slow but steady increase in dopamine levels around nerve synapses.
This in turn leads to normal dopamine levels for those who have low dopamine levels. This is also what makes Modafinil useful for treating things such as ADHD and depression.
Modafinil and Weight Loss
Humans feel an instinctual need to consume food, and consume so much of it that we can survive famines and other food shortages. That was useful to us in the past, but it’s something of an issue in a world abundant with food. These instincts are the main driving force for the increased risks of obesity in the modern world.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool used by medical practitioners to categorize people into healthy and unhealthy weights. A BMI over 25 (around 20% higher than healthy) is considered to be overweight. Obesity is considered to be a BMI over 30.
Obesity is a major driver of depression. A recent study looked into the connection between depression and obesity and saw that there was a significant correlation between the two. They discovered people of all age groups and genders in the study who were obese were more likely to suffer from depression than healthy-weight individuals.
Other studies show just how serious the situation is. Depression in turn leads to worse cases of obesity, which in turn leads to a higher prevalence of depression; thereby creating a vicious circle. One of the best ways to combat depression is to combat obesity.
How to Use Modafinil for Weight Loss
Modafinil works as a stimulant, which by nature increases metabolism. Most weight loss supplements are also stimulants that work by boosting metabolism. Increasing metabolic rate increases the rate at which fats are converted to ketone bodies, which are used to generate energy.
For the process to be truly effective, you have to do exercises to burn the ketones produced by fat. It’s also necessary to reduce and restrict calorie intake.
Modafinil makes it easier to cut calories by reducing appetite.
The lower one’s appetite, the less likely they are to overeat and emotionally eat when stressed and depressed. Such habits are one of the main reasons that depressed people tend to gain – and maintain – weight.
By helping overweight and obese depressed people to lose weight, you are able to minimize the impact that the extra weight has on their depression.
Modafinil and Fatigue
Fatigue and malaise are common side effects of depression. There are several reasons that this happens, including; low dopamine levels; insomnia side effects; adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); low physical activity levels; parasympathetic nervous system dominance; poor nervous system activation.
How Modafinil Helps with Fatigue
In terms of therapeutic classification, Modafinil is considered an eugeroic. These are drugs that promote wakefulness.
People dealing with fatigue can see major improvement in their symptoms from taking stimulating, wakefulness-promoting medications such as Modafinil. It boosts norepinephrine levels – which helps to regulate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
The SNS is in control of the flight or fight response. It makes us alert when stressed and is responsible for making sure we wake up in the morning. Many people with depression have a lot of trouble waking up properly in the morning.
The SNS of depressed people becomes dysfunctional. This makes things easier for its counterpart, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and allows it to take over.
When the PNS is in control it leads to fatigue, drowsiness, and oversleeping. The other side effects of PNS dominance are weight gain, swelling, and diarrhea.
The Research on Modafinil for Depression
One study into Modafinil for depression involved eighty-five patients with depression and bipolar disorder who weren’t responding to traditional antidepressants. They were provided either Modafinil or a placebo. Just two weeks later, there was a marked improvement for the Modafinil group. By the time the six-week study was over, 40% of the Modafinil group went into remission for their symptoms.
Another similar study looked into the records of United States hospitals to identify how effective Modafinil as a depression treatment. They discovered that after 90 days of treatment, over two-thirds (67%) of people using Modafinil reported a 20% – or more – improvement of their symptoms.
If you are planning on using Modafinil to treat depression and the side effects associated with it, then you should always consult a medical professional first. That way you can be sure that there are no good reasons to not take the medication for depression.
When Modafinil is not the right choice for depression;
- If your depression is linked to severe anxiety
- If you have anorexia
- If you are on other antidepressant medications
- If you have a cold or the flu
- If you are on blood pressure medication
- If you are on heart medication
- If you have more severe depression
- If you have anemia
Depression is a common medical condition that can be debilitating to sufferers.
Conventional depression treatments have come a long way but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have limitations. Most depression treatments are focused around boosting serotonin levels to treat depression. However, the condition also affects dopamine levels.
Modafinil works to increase dopamine concentration in the brain. It addresses a number of the issues associated with depression, including side effects of depression such as fatigue and obesity.
Using Modafinil for depression can mean using it for the long term, in doses of around 100mg or 200mg per day. Be sure to consult your doctor before using Modafinil for depression.
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