It’s quite strange that in the past, coffee was the only pick-me-up, and people can do so many things under its influence. Today, you come across different drugs to help people achieve society’s definition of productivity. You have the classic coffee for a jittery energy boost, Adderall for superior focus, Racetams for creative and cognitive boosts, and now, Adrafinil. Need to outperform a colleague at work? Need to perfect that exam? Adrafinil, a type of nootropic, might just be the drug you need.
What are Nootropics?
Drugs that enhance memory and other cognitive functions are called nootropics. A lot of white-collar workers and college students are familiar with the different types of nootropics, and one wonders whether this is a good thing or not. To decide whether or not Adrafinil is for you, you’ll have to find out what specific effects you’re looking for in a nootropic. You can’t just say you want to be “smarter” or “better” or even more “energetic”. Different nootropics help you achieve different levels of smartness and energy.
What is Adrafinil?
Adrafinil is a eugeroic nootropic, which means it helps promote alertness and wakefulness while enhancing cognition. While one might argue that coffee does practically the same thing, you don’t develop a tolerance to Adrafinil, which means you can use it every day without worrying about its effects getting weaker after each use.
Adrafinil is also known to boost your mood and motivation. What’s great about Adrafinil is that you can legally purchase this anywhere in the United States without needing a prescription, unlike Modafinil. Note, however, that virtually all drugs have certain side effects, and Adrafinil is no exception. We’ll get to know how this magic bullet of a drug works in a while and whether or not you should give it a shot, but right now, let’s talk a little bit more about its history.
A Brief History of Adrafinil
Adrafinil was originally discovered by a French pharmaceutical company called Lafon. The drug is a central nervous system stimulant just like coffee, soft drinks, and energy drinks. When it was under development, it was called CRL-40028. Its manufacturer, Cephalon, called it Olmifon but since Cephalon no longer manufactures it, online stores sell the generic version, and therefore call it Adrafinil.
As with Modafinil, Adrafinil was prescribed for patients with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders that make them lethargic almost all the time. Adrafinil helps alleviate the symptoms of these sleep disorders so that the patients could live a normal life.
Catecholamine hormones are hormones created by the adrenal glands. If you’re aware of the term “Adrenalin rush,” you might think of the adrenal glands as things that cause stress and panic, but on the contrary, they actually help you combat emotional or physical stress by releasing various hormones. Catecholamine hormones are composed mainly of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine A.K.A. adrenalin. Horror movies, rollercoaster rides, and other fear-inducing experiences are only exciting because they trick the brain’s natural evolutionary response patterned to the fight or flight response that triggers when the brain thinks you’re in trouble.
By jumpstarting your adrenergic system, you experience a powerful jolt in cognition, energy, and mood. You basically trick your brain into thinking that your life depends on whatever task you’re trying to concentrate on, so it gives you all the motivation, energy, and brain power it can. Most nootropics also work this way, but unlike caffeine or Adderall, Adrafinil isn’t addictive in a physiological sense (though getting things done quickly and more efficiently can be very addictive in its own way). It also won’t give you insomnia if you accidentally take it minutes before you go to bed, nor will it cause your heart to palpitate.
One special trick Adrafinil knows that a lot of other nootropics don’t is the magical mood boost achieved by preventing Dopamine (a chemical that makes you happy and quirky) from being broken down. Some nootropics like Aniracetam and Piracetam (especially when you lack the proper levels of choline) can wreak havoc on ones emotional state, sometimes causing emotional detachment or depression. Adrafinil also helps regulate Serotonin release, which is known to affect sleep quality, memory, metabolism, and quality of sex. The core of this drug, however, lies in its ability to inhibit the breakdown of Glutamate, which is the most important neurotransmitter in the body, comprising of fifty percent of the body’s nervous tissue. This leads to enhanced neuronal communication, cognition, and memory.
Benefits of Adrafinil
Adrafinil’s most popular benefit is its stimulant property. It gives you a huge amount of energy that lasts for a long time, and the power to channel that energy in a hyper-focused manner. If you’re suffering from ADHD, ADD, narcolepsy, insomnia, or other disorders that cause lethargy or loss of focus, then this drug may be worth a try. This is also commonly used by people who work at night and sleep in the morning to force their body to be alert at times it’s naturally programmed to sleep and sleep when it’s naturally programmed to be awake. Students and professionals who want or need to get something done in a huge, continuous block of time have also resorted to Adrafinil as a caffeine replacement.
This drug may have been originally prescribed for people who can’t focus or are lethargic, but it can also act as a form of motivational booster, helping people go through stressful times without falling into depression and anxiety.
Some drugs only act as stimulants, which mean that you might be able to harness enough energy to pull an all-nighter, but the problem most students and workers experience is the mental fog that comes after the substance wears off. Adrafinil doesn’t just load you with energy and focus; it also helps your brain assimilate information more efficiently. In addition to being fully awake when you’re doing a task, your brain is also running overclocked, which means it learns and recalls things better. Other drugs make users feel like the information they absorbed also leaves their bodies once the drug is out of their system, but since Adrafinil improves the neural connections in your brain as you absorb information, you retain what you’ve absorbed.
Some speakers take Adrafinil because it increases the speed of their thoughts and the power of their recall such that they are able to think of things to say a lot quicker. In most cases, however, people who take on mentally straining tasks resort to Adrafinil because it reduces the mental exhaustion one gets after challenging the brain for long periods of time. Some even say that you get into a certain idyllic nirvana that athletes experience; you just keep working and working because there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing.
Side Effects of Adrafinil
If Adrafinil had no side effects, almost everyone would be using it. Profit-oriented companies might even require their workers to take it on a regular basis. Some users have reported feeling dizzy, nauseated and having stomachaches and other forms of discomfort when taking Adrafinil. As with most supplements, the liver also suffers with long-term regular usage. It’s always best to ask your doctor about any possible complication to make sure that you aren’t wasting your money and endangering your life just to be a bit more productive.
Common Recommended Dosage
Adrafinil’s recommended daily dosage for healthy adults is between 150-300 mg. Unlike certain nootropics like piracetam, which works best if you shock your body with about 5 grams of dosage and slowly taper it down to 800 mg, Adrafinil is powerful and potent enough to work at smaller doses. It’s always best to start small, and work your way up so that your body can adjust. Also, Adrafinil won’t necessarily have more benefits when you take more than 300 mg, so the lower your dosage is, the lesser your chances are of experiencing its negative side effects.
Don’t treat Adrafinil as a daily multivitamin. If you’re taking Adrafinil as a performance booster, take it strategically (i.e. when you’ve allotted a chunk of time without interruptions). It’s recommended to take Adrafinil in cycles, which means that you take breaks from Adrafinil for the same amount of days you’ve used it (e.g., If you’ve taken it for two weeks, take a break from it for two weeks.). This will help you experience its amazing benefits without experiencing a decline in its effects.
Caffeine vs. Adrafinil
The Caffeine and L-Theanine combo is an ancient recipe for calm energy that a lot of people swear by since they’re both easier to obtain and seem less dangerous to take. However, the problem is that your body gets used to them quite fast. If you’ve noticed, pretty much nobody lives on only one cup of coffee a day and if you need to have a whole day of alertness and cognition, you may end up drinking more than six cups of coffee. You can work around this issue by taking Caffeine and L-Theanine when you’re taking a rest from Adrafinil, and then taking Adrafinil when you’re taking a rest from Caffeine and L-Theanine. In terms of accessibility and price, the Caffeine and L-Theanine combo wins. In terms of the consistency of energy delivered and the amount of focus given, however, Adrafinil gets the crown.
Adderall vs. Adrafinil
Adderall is well-known especially among college students (and of course, people with ADD or ADHD), but the problem with Adderall is that it kills neurons in your brain whereas Adrafinil protects them. Some people report an unhealthy amount of concentration given by Adderall (after all, it was manufactured for people who have disorders that prevent them from focusing) to the point that they’d get stuck doing a task for hours even if they’ve only planned to do them for a couple of minutes. At high doses it wreaks havoc with your decision-making skills and could cause you to make a lot of impulsive decisions.
Adderall is fine when you’re taking it correctly but a lot of people abuse Adderall, using it almost every day, to the point that they’d have to consume larger doses to feel the same effect. This is when the side effects start to come out. Also, some people have also reported experiencing bad moods and a sharp decrease in motivation once the Adderall is out of their system. This does not happen with Adrafinil. In terms of focus, Adderall wins, but in terms of getting useful work done and having less tolerance and side effects, Adrafinil wins.
There are plenty of nootropics available in drugstores and online stores, which speaks volumes on how society defines what “normal” and “healthy” is nowadays. Nootropics that were originally created to deter the effects of aging and mental decline are now being used by healthy people to get more things done. Should Nootropics become more common and consequently more available, there will come a time when everyone needs Adderall or Adrafinil to function, just as people in the present need coffee to function. This might be good for humanity, in a sense that everyone would have achieved an almost god-like cranial capacity. We’d practically speed up our ascent into the next era. The down side is that when you’re used to having a drug motivate you to do things, you may not be able to do anything useful without it.
You’ve been given a lot of information about Adrafinil, including its inner workings and history, so that you can make informed decisions on whether or not this drug is for you. Adrafinil isn’t cheap, and its effects shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are the type of person who doesn’t cram or stay up all night, you might want to stay with Caffeine and L-Theanine as your regular pick-me-up and have Adrafinil as your emergency booster. If you are the type of person who always seems to need to pull all-nighters, give Adrafinil a try, but remember to limit your intake.
Now that you know a little more about nootropics, specifically Adrafinil, you can decide for yourself whether or not you’re going to take this route to mental acuity. In a society where overtimes are as frequent as the sunrise, in a society where stress is as abundant as the stars in the night sky, in a society where being human is no longer enough, would you hang on to your humanity, or would you bite the magic bullet?