We all have some nights where we just want to kick back on the couch after a hard day’s work with a beer or two. Usually, you shouldn’t think too much about having your favourite drink, but if you use nootropics, then it might be necessary to get a second opinion. Are there any adverse side effects when you mix Modafinil with alcohol?

Many drugs recommend taking a temporary break from drinking for fear an adverse reaction between the two chemicals. As expected, many people don’t take the advice seriously. It is just the doctor’s way of playing safe; they might reason. Believing that no actual harm can come from downing a few bottles while on medication.   However, missing drugs and alcohol can have adverse effects, and the warning should be taken to heart.

Given Modafinil’s popularity as a smart drug of choice among university students, it shouldn’t come as no surprise that a few cases have been reported of mixing the two substances.

Although there isn’t any specific contraindication, it is considered unwise to use alcohol while still on Modafinil.  Any random search in nootropics forums would bring lots of experiences from various people about how using alcohol with Modafinil affects them. I can guarantee that most would talk about how it increases their tolerance to the drug.   Mixing the two substances makes one extremely inebriated.

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 Glutamate and GABA

But what’s the science behind this?  Glutamate and GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), the brain’s neurotransmitters that create the link between alcohol and Modafinil.   GABA is an inhibitory transmitter that is responsible for various functions such as regulating anxiety while Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that controls learning and memory.

Modafinil is a GABA antagonist which means that it prevents the production of this transmitter, thus shutting out anxiety.  On the other hand, Modafinil is also an activator of glutamate which means it triggers the increase in production of glutamate. So Modafinil inhibits the production of GABA while enhancing the production of glutamate. A complete opposite of what alcohol does.

Alcohol activates the GABA neurotransmitters while inhibiting the glutamate.  It is important to understand that GABA is the neurotransmitters that are responsible for sedation and other calming effects. It also helps to maintain a tricky balance with other excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate. Alcohol is a spoiler of the party; it increases GABA to out-of-control proportions without increasing excitatory transmitters such as glutamate, epinephrine, and acetylcholine.  Resulting in extreme mood swings. No wonder, people become such an emotional wreck once they take in booze.

However, as most of you might know it is possible to build a tolerance to alcohol pretty quickly.   To the extent that it no longer has any meaningful impact on you regardless of how much you take. This can be dangerous; you can black out because of being too intoxicated unawares.

This is due to the increased release of the GABA neurons which makes make you less sensitive to alcohol, and reduced release of the glutamate neurons was making you more responsive to the agonist such as Modafinil.

However, taking a drink rocks the boat by upsetting the tricky balance that has been in existence.  It turns the built up tolerance to alcohol on its head by creating an entirely opposite reaction than what the body is accustomed to by taking in alcohol.

So in a nutshell, Modafinil destroys the tolerance to alcohol that you had built up over the years. It takes you back to the point when you began taking a drink. Thus, you will get drunk quicker when you take the two substances

For instance, someone who gets drunk after 3-4 beers would feel the effect of alcohol just after one beer with Modafinil. However, subsequent beers might lose their effect.  Which means that the more the drinks, the less the effect.    Thus, you have to watch out because you can get drunk without feeling or noticing.    Then you will have the morning sickness and hangovers to contend with the next day.    The best advice would be, to get clearance from your doctor if you can’t give up the booze even while using Modafinil. Different people tend to react in a variety of ways to booze.  So you have to listen to your body and stop when you feel you can’t keep with your insatiable appetite.

Dangers of mixing alcohol with Modafinil

As explained above, Modafinil and alcohol aren’t the best of bedfellows.  Thus, combining the two isn’t the best idea, one can amplify the other’s adverse side effects.  Remember that both Modafinil and alcohol have quick dehydrating effects on the body. Which means without enough drinking water, the hangovers would be so brutal the next day.

There is also the danger of overheating if you are dancing, running or in hot and dry climate.  The result of this can be dangerous. Hence, due diligence should be taken to ensure you remain hydrated while drinking or using Modafinil.    Combining alcohol and Modafinil will get your drunker than you expected. One of the reasons for this is that Modafinil reduces your appetite, you feel the effects of alcohol faster if you are drinking on an empty stomach.

Another reason is that Modafinil fights the depressant effects of alcohol. Hence you might not feel drunk as you are, even if you can barely walk.    As a result, you will drink more assuming that everything is all good. But when the effect of Modafinil wears off, there can be disastrous results.   For instance, one can black out due to excessive intoxication.

Drinking alcohol on Modafinil

Let us be honest; some people will keep taking their beer with Modafinil regardless of the contraindications they come across.  So how do you use Modafinil if you are going to drink?  The first thing you need to know is, taking due caution is in your best interest. The information below might help.

Don’t forget to eat

Modafinil like most stimulants has the tendency of suppressing your appetite, but you have to learn to turn a blind eye so that and eat. Eat sufficiently and regularly even if your appetite can’t let you.  Unless if you want to lose weight, but even so, that is not the best way to take.   There is a big difference between starvation and diet. Not eating well during the day will have a massive carry-forward impact on your evening or even the next day.  Not eating also reduces Modafinil ability to improve your performance.

It is important to note that your brain burns a significant number of calories and using Modafinil fuels that consumption.  Make sure you keep track of your eating habits so that you follow them strictly when using Modafinil. Some ideas to help you; learn to snack at work or set a reminder if you must.  The bottom line, better eating ensures that your body is in good shape to give your best results with Modafinil

Drink water

Some people complain of headaches when using Modafinil, but it all boils down to how much water they are taking. Modafinil is one of the leading causes of dehydration, but alcohol will dehydrate you faster than Modafinil. Take enough water, more than you would normally do if you ever combine the two. The thing is, Modafinil like all the other stimulants is a diuretic. Hence, you need to drink enough water, extra trips to the bathroom, notwithstanding.  Just keep replenishing all the water that you lose.

Be sure your body will be passing a lot of water if you combine Modafinil with alcohol. Keep an eye on how much booze you take so that you don’t drink in excess.      You may need to add some electrolytes to your water as well.  It doesn’t mean you need a dozen bottles of Gatorade.   But some pinch of salt added to your water might just be enough to keep well hydrated throughout the day.

You may want to keep track of how much water you drink on any given day. Then consider increasing the amount when you take Modafinil with alcohol. If you typically take 2-3 bottles of water on a working day, consider taking 3-5 when you were using Modafinil. You will be head-ache free.  So often we get so engrossed at work that we don’t pay attention to our body needs, so set a reminder on your phone. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just make sure your body is getting enough water.


Although Modafinil may enable you to go past your alcohol limits, the results can be disastrous.   When it comes to using drugs and alcohol, ‘safety first’ should be your mantra. Don’t take Modafinil so that you can party the whole night as you guzzle booze.   If you have taken Modafinil in the morning or later in the evening (although not recommended), know that it takes up to 12 hours for it to completely leave your body.

Always remember that alcohol and Modafinil are not the perfect mixes. If you want to get the most out of Modalert, don’t follow it up with a dumb drink. There are a time and place for both but not at the same time. With that in mind, combining the two substances isn’t lethal but why risk to outweigh the little results that can help you in the long run?


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