Modafinil And Anxiety- How Are They Related?

Modafinil And Anxiety- How Are They Related?

The effect of Modafinil on anxiety is complex and may result in both improving and worsening the symptoms of anxiety. Studies suggest that genetic makeup, current mental condition, and drug interaction can increase the risk of experiencing anxiety from Modafinil. 

In the bustling world of cognitive enhancement, few substances have gained as much attention as Modafinil. Often hailed as a wonder drug for boosting wakefulness and cognitive function, Modafinil has also been associated with reports of anxiety and unease. But what's the real story behind this supposed link between Modafinil and anxiety? Are these fears founded in scientific evidence, or are they merely myths? 

In this blog, we will look deep into the relationship between Modafinil and anxiety, examining the existing research and understanding if Modafinil causes or helps with anxiety.

Understanding Modafinil

Modafinil is a novel wake-promoting agent that was originally developed in 1970 by French neurophysiology professor Michel Jouvet and Lafon Laboratories. The use of this medication was approved by the USA in 1998 and is available under the brand name “Modvigil.”


Common Uses And Benefits

Modafinil was developed to treat Excessive daytime sleepiness associated with Narcolepsy, Sleep Apnea, and Shift Work sleep disorders. 

The off-label uses of Modafinil include promoting cognitive enhancement, which results in better concentration, memory, and attention span [1]. The benefits of Modafinil also include treatment for ADHD, Fatigue, Weight loss, and depression. 

Exploring Anxiety- The Basics

The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as a condition that is characterized by feelings of worry and tension along with numerous physical changes. 

Key Facts On Anxiety by WHO-

  • Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world, affecting 301 million people in 2019. 

  • It is more common in women than men. 

  • Only 1 in every 4 people receive treatment for this condition. 

  • The symptoms of anxiety often are seen during childhood or adolescence.

Symptoms of anxiety may include-

  • Trouble Sleeping

  • Heart Palpitations

  • Sweating

  • Restlessness

  • Nausea

Modafinil And Anxiety- The Science Behind 

Modafinil And Anxiety- The Science Behind

The working mechanism of Modafinil or Modvigil includes increasing the secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. They play an integral part in regulating a person's mood and alertness. Studies on Modafinil suggest that its effect on anxiety is complex and can alleviate and exacerbate anxiety under different conditions.

Modafinil’s Anxiolytic Effects

Anxiolytic medication are used to treat symptoms of anxiety such as poor concentration, fear, muscle tightness, and uneasiness. 

There are several studies that have shown the ability of Modafinil to reduce signs of anxiety. A 2017 study by Adrian Johnson and Trevor Hamilton, which used animal models such as zebrafish, suggests that Modafinil can lower anxiety-like behavior. 

Modafinil or Modvigil can improve mood and lower stress and anxiety by enhancing the secretion of norepinephrine and dopamine, thus contributing to its anxiolytic effects. 

Modafinil’s Anxiogenic Effects

Some studies suggest that Modafinil or Modvigil can increase anxiety in some users. Anxiogenic medications are substances that result in anxiety. 

It is more evident in anecdotal reports and studies where users are noted to experience heightened anxiety levels after taking Modafinil.  

In addition, anxiety is also noted to be a common side effect of Modafinil, according to GoodRx. It suggests that Modafinil, a brain stimulant, can affect mood and increase the feeling of anxiety and nervousness. However, the symptoms or anxiety may be less likely in lower doses. 

How Does Modafinil Induce Anxiety?

The wakefulness-promoting effect of Modafinil is achieved by working on the central nervous system. Its ability to secrete certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin can result in overactivation, causing anxiety symptoms.  

The other factors that can include Modafinil anxiety are listed below. 

Altering The Brain Frequencies 

Modafinil use can also alter and affect the Beta Waves or frequencies of the brain, resulting in anxiety symptoms. The Beta Waves are known for causing symptoms of Stress, Anxiety, Paranoia, and arousal. They range between 12.5 to 40Hz.

The Role Of Individual Differences 

How Modafinil affects the symptoms of anxiety may vary based on the genetic makeup of the person, existing mental health conditions, and lifestyle factors. 

The genetic makeup (genetic material inherited from their parents) of a person may affect how Modafinil is metabolized in the liver, which may also influence the efficacy and safety profile of the medication. 

People with a history of anxiety disorder are at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety from taking Modafinil or its brand drug Modvigil. 

Larger Intake Of Caffeine

When Modafinil is taken with coffee or food items rich in caffeine, it can overstimulate your central nervous system, resulting in panic attacks. 

Drug Interactions

Taking Modafinil with other medications can result in drug interaction that can also interfere with its metabolism. Any medication or supplement that inhibits the enzyme needed to metabolize Modafinil can result in anxiety. 

Personal Experiences and Anecdotal Evidence

User reviews and testimonials shed light on the experiences people encounter when using Modafinil in relation to anxiety. Many individuals note a notable improvement in focus and energy levels without the typical jitteriness linked with traditional stimulants. However, a segment of users discusses experiencing heightened levels of anxiety, occasionally leading to panic episodes or increased nervousness. 

These narratives indicate the significance of personal expectations and mental health backgrounds in shaping how one responds to Modafinil. Those with anxiety disorder or facing a stressful life may find that Modafinil can amplify their anxiety levels.

How To Reduce Anxiety From Modafinil?


If you experience anxiety from taking Modafinil, here are a few ways to help you reduce and improve the condition.

Exercise Daily- 

As the famous saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Exercising or playing always keeps our body and mind active, resulting in reduced stress and Anxiety.

Exercising for 10-15 minutes every day might help you release hormones like serotonin and endorphin in the body, helping improve Mental Health and lowering signs of Anxiety. If you take Modafinil before exercise, it helps you to do your workout better.

Lowering the Dose-

One should always consume the recommended Dosages. However, it is considered one of the best ways to prevent or cure Anxiety induced by Modafinil, as stated by the FDA.


Whenever we see a threat, our body stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System and gives us the rush to function. This circumstance results in Anxiety. Thus, meditation helps relax and calm the SNS system.

Meditating daily for 1 hour can relax the mind and body, therefore calming our mind and body and reducing Anxiety.


 Many therapy sessions occur online and offline. You can attend online or group sessions or consult with a therapist, depending on your preference.

Our Final Thoughts On Modafinil Anxiety 

It can be hard to establish a relationship between Modafinil and anxiety as the medication offers significant benefits to some while worsening the signs of anxiety for others. More clinical studies are needed to understand its mechanism fully and how we can minimize its effects. We advise all readers to consult a doctor before taking Modafinil for anxiety. 

More Topics On Modafinil 


Modvigil is not usually prescribed for off-label use for Anxiety. However, most people say that it helps them to stay focused, calm, and confident in stressful or social situations.

Modafinil might have general mood-elevating effects accompanied by an increase in negative effects.

Yes, the Consumption of Modafinil can help people with Stress.

Modafinil is a stimulating agent that affects the mind causing feelings of Alertness, perception, and enhanced thinking.

Studies revealed that only 5% of people experience Anxiety Disorder on consumption of Modafinil.


  1. Review of ‘smart drug’ shows modafinil does enhance cognition,

  2. What are Anxiety Disorders,

  3. 5 Tips For Beating Modafinil-Induced Anxiety, getzonedup.

  4. Provigil (modafinil), medicalnewstoday.

Author's Note

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