Adrafinil vs. Adderall: Comparison of Benefits and Side Effects

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs, are one of the most common go-to solutions for students and business owners alike, for their cognitive enhancing properties which heightens their focus & concentration on the task at hand. For this purpose, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Narcolepsy patients are often prescribed Nootropics to get them through the day. However, most debates stem from the choice between Adrafinil vs. Adderall.

In this article, we compare the psychopharmacology between Adrafinil and Adderall and their benefits to help you make a better-informed decision on whether you would like to look into Adderall or Adrafinil more. Since Adrafinil is metabolized into Modafinil in your body, you can also refer to this article if you are interested to compare Modafinil & Adderall, as well.

Is Adrafinil Similar to Adderall?

Adrafinil vs. Adderall are chemically unrelated, since they have different chemical make-ups and used for different purposes. While Adrafinil is an emerging wakefulness enhancer in the market, Adderall is a psycho-stimulant that has been used in psychiatry for some time. Both Adderall & Adrafinil result in better wakefulness and focus if you use them. To add on, both Nootropics are FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy due to the alertness that it provides. However, when used to treat ADHD, only Adderall currently has an FDA approval seal, even if doctors may sometimes prescribe Adrafinil to treat this condition as well.

Adrafinil’s Working Mechanism

While the mechanisms of Adrafinil is not entirely known, this Nootropic is among the most popular choices to promote wakefulness. What is known, however, is that some neurotransmitters are released in response to Adrafinil when you take it. Adrafinil has been observed to cause an increase of histamine, glutamate, norepinephrine and GABA in your brain, and this neurotransmitter cocktail will result in a rush of motivation, alertness and improved productivity aside from having a better mood.

Adderall’s Working Mechanism

The similarities of Adderall’s chemical structures to that of the catecholamines’ are quite notable, and it is this similarity that allows Adderall to stimulate more production of dopamine, adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine, which are the hormones responsible for alertness, good mood and energy. On the side, Adderall also stimulates the production of serotonin and histamine. If you take Adderall for ADHD, you will have an improved focus and a longer attention span, but even if you are a healthy person with no such condition, Adderall will still boost your wakefulness and your state of mind, similar to the effects of Nootropics.

Are Adrafinil and Adderall Addictive?

When broken down into its chemical structures, Adderall actually belongs to the class of amphetamines. While Adderall can be a good Nootropic, its classification makes it easy for you to associate it with certain addictive drugs such as ecstasy, MDMA and methamphetamine. As such, you will find that Adderall is considerably more dangerous than Adrafinil, and would have a higher risk for addiction than its counterpart as well. This is not to be a cause of worry, however, since taking Adderall does not mean that you will turn into a drug addict simply by taking it several times.

Similar to most of other supplements & Nootropics that affect dopamine levels, there is always a chance for addiction, which is why there is a standard recommended daily dosage for you to refer to. The recommended amount of Adderall to be taken daily is about 10 to 30 mg, while for Adrafinil, you are recommended to take between 300 to 600 mg in a day. When taken in moderation, you do not need to worry too much about the adverse addiction effects.

However, if you do take Adderall in a dose higher than the daily recommended dosage, you might experience signs of addiction. Adderall stimulates your central nervous system to produce more than the natural amount of dopamine in your body system, which will make us feel a need to take more and in higher dosages. You might feel as if you are unable to function well without taking Adderall or that you need to take it to stay alert and awake. When used for longer terms, Adderall is an Amphetamine which has a higher chance of causing addiction than Adrafinil.

Side Effects of Adrafinil

Adrafinil causes a much subtler stimulation as compared to that of Adderall. Considered as one of the best Nootropics in the market, Adrafinil gives you a steady and natural energy increase, and has a lower possibility of causing addiction. Some common side effects of taking Adrafinil includes feeling nervousness and anxiety, mixed with headaches and nausea at times. Although rare, you might also experience serious side effects such as rashes and abnormal facial movements, in which case it is advised that you consult a doctor as soon as possible. Headaches can be resolved by taking cholinergic supplements, such as, Centrophenoxine.

Side Effects of Adderall

Other than having a high risk for addiction, Adderall can cause you to feel restless, nervous and being shaky in general. If you start experiencing severe side effects such as hallucinations and uncontrollable body movements or heart palpitations, consult a medical professional immediately.

Adrafinil vs. Adderall for Studying

If you take Adderall, you will find that you have more interest in your assignment or study topics at hand than without, enabling you to stay focused on your task and do well in the process. However, due to the potential side effects of Adderall, you might need to consider taking another Nootropic if you find the side effects hindering you from your tasks too much.

Alternatively, Adrafinil is a Nootropic that can boost your energy and motivation greatly, increasing your abilities for studying. Even though the effects might be less impactful than Adderall’s, you are recommended to stick to this Nootropic if you have tested it and found the energy boost, cognitive enhancement and concentration levels to be stable and reliable rather than opting for Adderall. This is so that you can avoid the negative side effects of Adderall. In addition, Adrafinil has been linked to better memory retention in some studies.

Which Nootropic should I Choose?

This could be hard to say since each of us have a different chemical buildup which may cause us to have different reactions to the Nootropics and thus, we may experience different levels of Nootropic efficacy. You may remember that Adderall generally has a stronger effect than Adrafinil due to its potent brain stimulating properties, but also that it has more negative side effects as well. You might also recap from this article that Adrafinil has a subtler effect in comparison. There’s no certain answer as to which Nootropic you should take, but the best way that you can make this decision is to try both Nootropics – one at a time, of course, and assess how your body reacts to them. Weigh the pros and cons of each Nootropic, and choose the one that has the best effects without adversely affecting you too much.

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