Holding burnout at bay
October 21, 2012 11:58 PM Subscribe
Considering asking my doctor for modafinil; concerns and questions.
Maybe this seems like a completely ridiculous question. In recent months (and for the next ~six months) I have been/will be by necessity on a sleep schedule that involves sleeping about 5 hours a night or less every night except Friday/Saturday - and even that is likely to be reduced come the spring semester. It really isn't an option. I get home from my school activities at 9:30-10pm and eat dinner (sometimes my only meal of the day). I know I should be going to bed about 11, since I have to get up at 7:15 to get to work, but I've never been able to fall asleep before 1-2am unless I'm already exhausted from pulling a previous all-nighter. I also end up staying up that late because I need time to do homework/projects/study/housework/pet care... And that's not including just taking time to relax a little. So I'm usually in bed by 2am, in the end, often with things left undone.
I need to be awake and alert for work in the morning, throughout the day, etc. Caffeine does little to nothing for me; I've tried and appear to be mysteriously immune to its effects. Not to mention that I find the taste of coffee repulsive.
I've discovered a medication called Modafinil (the generic form), which is approved for treating narcolepsy and sleep-apnea, but is apparently prescribed frequently for other things as well, notably daytime fatigue. As far as I've seen it's not a medication with a history of being abused, has few side effects, etc. I'm considering asking my doctor about it - but I'm concerned he'll assume I want it for less responsible purposes and just brush me off and tell me to get more sleep. My choices really are "get more sleep" or "get things done." I can't have both right now. This coming summer, when I can quit my job (and I will, believe me; as well-paying as it is it's not worth the stress), I'd stop using any medication and go right back to sleeping the hours I need. Is asking for something like this absurd/unreasonable? Is my concern about my doctor brushing me off legitimate? How do I go about asking him for this?
Pre-empting questions: I'm currently on a vitamin D regimen that will last another 6 weeks; topping up the tank, as it were. Never prescribed other pills for any purpose, and never asked for them. Relatively new to this doctor, but plan on staying with him for as long as I live in the area. I am young and in excellent health.
I also want to reiterate: This is not an attempt to avoid a problem. I will be solving it more long term, but cannot do so until the summer, and I need a stopgap in the meantime to avoid mental and physical burnout. Yes, I've looked at other options regarding moving my schedule around. No, they're not possible for now. Please trust me on this.
Thanks for your attention/advice.