Can You Mix Modafinil and Alcohol? My Experience Plus Scientific Research

If you read my last post about my experience with modafinil, you will know that I did not have a good first experience mixing modafinil and alcohol.  It reduced my tolerance by a lot.  But I’ve tried it again under different circumstances and got different results.

If you’ve searched throughout forums and sites dedicated to nootropics or modafinil, you’ve probably read about the different effects it has on people.  Some will say it makes them extremely drunk while others say it builds up their tolerance.

But what does the actual science say about mixing the two?  Here I’ll explain the scientific interaction between alcohol and modafinil.  I’ll also talk about the different effects it had on me each time I tried mixing the two.

Science Behind Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol

The link between modafinil and alcohol all boils down to GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) and glutamate, two important neurotransmitter in the brain.

GABA is a inhibitory neurotransmitter.  It has a whole range of functions, such as controlling anxiety.  Glutamate is an excitory neurotransmitter .  It plays an important role in learning and memory.

They call modafinil a GABA antagonist.  That means it prevents the action of GABA.  However, modafinil is also a glutamate agonist, which means that it binds to receptors to produce a biological response to increase glutamate.

What this means is that modafinil inhibits the production of GABA while increasing the production of glutamate (another neurotransmitter).  This is the opposite of what alcohol does.

Alcohol is a GABA agonist and a glutamate antagonist.  Here’s the thing.  GABA is the brain’s primary depressive neurotransmitter.  It is is important in producing sedative and calming effects, and balancing itself against excitatory neurotransmitters.

But increasing GABA to out-of-control proportions while not increasing other excitatory neurotransmitters (epineprhine, norephinephrine, acetylcholine, glutamate, etc) will have adverse mood effects.  That’s why you see people become emotional wrecks when they get stupid drunk.

But as you know, you can build tolerance to alcohol.  Over time, you become more accustomed to it and your body can take more of it without getting plastered.  This is the result of an increased expression of GABA neurons leaving you less sensitive to the agonist and a decreased expression of glutamate neurons making you more sensitive to the agonist.

So when modafinil comes into the system, it reverses the built up tolerance to alcohol by creating an opposite reaction of what alcohol is suppose to do.

READ  What it Takes to Live a Happy Life: A Harvard Study Answers the Question

So in theory, modafinil diminishes your tolerance to alcohol back to baseline levels (to when you first started drinking).  Therefore, you will get drunk quicker by mixing the two.

So that’s the best I can do in terms of a scientific explanation of it.

But what about my experience with mixing alcohol and modafinil?  Look below to see my different experiences with it.  Keep in mind, I’m a 5’6” Asian male that is 140-145 pounds, in between the age of 28-30 when this was done.  I took 200mg of modafinil each time.

Drinking Alcohol Only a Few Hours After (Taking Modafinil)

I made the horrible mistake of drinking beer only a few hours after taking modafinil.  My face got bright after my first drink and I felt kind of buzzed after the first drink—which never happens.  After my second drink, I didn’t feel safe driving.

Drinking Alcohol 10 Hours After

The second time trying alcohol with modafinil was drinking beer after 10 hours of taking modafinil.  This time, I fared better.  I was pretty close to my baseline level in terms of alcohol tolerance.  I downed a couple of beers no problem and didn’t have any trouble walking or driving.  My face did not get red either.

Drinking Alcohol 14 Hours After

I felt completely fine drinking after 14 hours.  The half-life of modafinil is about 14-15 hours so by the time I was drinking alcohol, half of the modafinil was pretty much out of my system.

I still felt super focused because the modafinil was still in my system, but I also did not experience any kind of trouble drinking 4 beers while writing.

The Final Word on Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol

So here is my conclusion from anecdotal evidence and scientific theory of the interaction between the two substances: the longer you wait after taking modafinil, the higher your alcohol tolerance will be.

If you know you need to drink later on in the day but still want to focus and get sh*t done, I recommend taking phenylpiracetam instead. Although the effects of phenylpiracetam are short-lived compared to modafinil, you can always take multiple dosages.  And the short half-life of phenylpiracetam means that any mixing with alcohol will be minimal.

Just as a warning, nothing on this website should be construed as medical or health advice.  If you are taking anything, you should consult your doctor about it.


About the author


Netflix enthusiast, horrible speller, jiujitsu hobbyist, weekend drinker, and occasional poker player. Favorite quote is "[o]ut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."