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How Does Caffeine Affect ADHD?

caffeine and adhd

ADHD and Caffeine

One of the most prevalent mental illnesses affecting children is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 2.5% of adults and 8.4% of children are believed to have ADHD. Have you ever wondered how caffeine may affect ADHD? The impact of ADHD is known to affect a person in many areas of their life, including academic and professional success, interpersonal connections, and daily functioning. Hence, it is imperative for someone with the disorder to know the relation between caffeine and ADHD.

If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, your doctor might have prescribed a stimulant drug like methylphenidate or amphetamine dextroamphetamine. These stimulants, which affect attention and behavior by increasing the brain’s supply of the neurotransmitter’s dopamine and norepinephrine, are among the most often given ADHD drugs. Another stimulant that many people use for self-medication is caffeine which also affects neurotransmitters.

Now, the question is; does consuming caffeine, whether it comes from coffee, tea, or any other source, make ADHD symptoms worse or help improve your condition? Furthermore, is it safe to use caffeine and ADHD medicine, or could it be harmful?

What Effect Does Caffeine Have on The Brain and Body?

Whether you have ADHD or not, the fact that caffeine has an impact on your brain and body cannot be ignored. Most individuals choose to have coffee to become energetic and not feel sleepy. If your caffeine consumption is relatively high, people who already have insomnia or trouble getting a good night’s sleep can face further disturbance in their sleeping patterns. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased forgetfulness, irritability, difficulty in controlling your emotions, or even facing trouble sitting still and focusing.

When someone has ADHD, caffeine has a complex influence on their physiology. One must have a good grip over their coffee intake because not doing so can cause problems like anxiety, panic attacks, and even seizures.

Adhd Specialist

How Does Caffeine Go With ADHD?

Caffeine should only be consumed in the morning for those with ADHD, and no late-night coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate consumption is advised. ADHD drugs that contain amphetamine also shrink blood arteries. Some of the effects of caffeine may be comparable to those of popular ADHD medicines. Although the precise cause is uncertain, decreased blood flow may aid in treating ADHD. It calms overactive brain regions, enabling them to work more effectively and cooperatively with the rest of the brain. Caffeine helps increase your adrenaline levels and reduce depression.

Coffee is a central nervous system stimulant that has been found to help boost overall mental functioning, improve attention and concentration, reduce fatigue, and improve memory. Caffeine mostly does this by functioning as an antagonist of the adenosine receptor. Caffeine binds to these receptors when we drink coffee, tea, or energy drinks, reducing the impact of adenosine and consequently reducing its effects by subtly enhancing dopamine release.

The majority of research has been conducted on animals or children, and some are fairly old. Thus, the evidence on caffeine and ADHD is not strong enough to be decisive. According to research, caffeine’s effectiveness for treating ADHD rises with increasing doses, but only until a point at which it starts to decline once more. Based on the meta-analysis from 2000, the dose may be around 150 mg per day for children, but the best timing and dosage, particularly for adults, are still unknown. However, generally, it is encouraging, and several experts have advocated for more research into the potential medical benefits of caffeine for ADHD.

Caffeine and ADHD Medication

Synergy is a term that defines the combination of caffeine and amphetamine drugs like Adderall, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine. Synergy occurs when two medications have complementary modes of action, increasing the potency of their combined effects. A person on Adderall, for example, would probably experience a bigger effect, including more adverse effects, as caffeine increases the effectiveness of amphetamines.

We do know that taking caffeine and ADHD drugs together “may potentially put someone at risk for having more serious adverse effects such as cardiac overstimulation,” says Lidia Zylowska, M.D. This is because both are stimulants. However, depending on the dosage of each drug, some patients are able to combine coffee and ADHD medication, tolerating it well.

Consultation on Caffeine and ADHD

If you or a family member of yours is suffering from ADHD, Family Medicine Austin clinic provides on-site ADD/ADHD testing. Despite the fact that no single test can definitively confirm or rule out ADHD, a thorough evaluation can aid the team of ADHD specialists in making the most precise diagnosis possible.

Medical professionals will consider your medical background, personal habits, and functional abilities throughout this assessment. Medication is one of the most frequently recommended treatments for people with ADHD. You may also benefit from extra treatments, including psychotherapy, family counseling, and behavioral therapy, in addition to medication.

See Also: Living With ADHD

Wrap up

Given that it acts as a CNS stimulant, caffeine is definitely still an option if you have ADHD and may even provide some advantages. Some studies indicate that taking low to moderate doses of caffeine helps improve focus and reduce harmful ADHD symptoms, including impulsive behavior, however not as well as medication.

Nonetheless, more study is needed to draw firm conclusions. More research is required, but it’s possible that caffeine’s health benefits are increased when combined with the relaxing amino acid L-theanine.

Your individual caffeine tolerance, if you have a pre-existing medical condition like anxiety or cardiovascular problems, how much sleep you receive, and whether you take stimulant medicine will all affect how caffeine affects you.

Family Medicine Austin

Written by Jeannette

I am Jeannette, the medical writing specialist here at Family Medicine Austin. I have over five years of experience working with a range of medical and healthcare across the U.S.