Modafinil. The caffeine of the future?

Some interesting developments are on the horizon in psychopharmacology – the study of drugs that affect our psychological state. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are the culturally (fairly) accepted methods of changing mood and performance. Perhaps soon these will be old hat.

Modafinil is a drug that was originally developed for the treatment of narcoleptics. It has subsequently been tested on helicopter pilots and been found to significantly improve alertness in fatigued pilots.

“Barbara Sahakian, Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge, who tested modafinil in a series of experiments on volunteers found that they showed greater concentration, faster learning and increased mental agility. “It may be the first real smart drug,” she says. “A lot of people will probably take modafinil. I suspect they do already.”

Word is spreading about this and other drugs. Illegal ritalin use to aid concentration is on the rise. Research is breaking through into the uses of ecstacy and psylocibin on depression. How long before the next wave of psychoactive chemicals breaks through onto the mainstream?

Personally I prefer to use natural methods of performance enhancement. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to change my mind when I am no longer young, fit and healthy.

> From The Independent

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 18 January 2005

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