ADHD Coffee

ADHD and Caffeine: the Effects of Coffee on ADHD Brain

Drinking coffee often “wakes” us up and allows us to better focus on our daily tasks - especially in the morning. But, what if you have ADHD? How will caffeine intake affect your symptoms? Learn more about ADHD and Caffeine here. 

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ADHD and Caffeine: the Effects of Coffee on ADHD Brain

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can nearly affect your life in almost all aspects. A neurodivergent brain can result in different life experiences than those we consider "normal." Some people with ADHD may have extreme behavioral effects compared to others. ADHD can also cause impulsive behavior and hyperactive traits to those who are affected. But, what can happen if someone with ADHD consumes something intended to stimulate people's brains?

For people without Attention, Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, coffee consumption increases ``adenosine occupancy,” according to a study. This may help increase mental alertness. This can further impose a positive effect on them, like preventing sleep. It's like the central nervous system of people without ADHD is being fueled by these caffeinated drinks. The stimulating effects of coffee can help them improve their mood and be productive even more.

How Does Caffeine Consumption Affect a Person with ADHD

Did you know that coffee can affect people with ADHD differently?

But what is the case of coffee consumption with adult ADHD? Caffeine intake for those with ADHD might not be as adequate as those without ADHD. Once ingested, coffee is carried out through blood flow from the blood vessels and to our central nervous system, our brain. From then on, the effects of caffeine still vary from person to person. But most likely, caffeine and ADHD's relationship are not expected to be the same for those that don't have this condition. Coffee can increase the dopamine levels of a person, including those with ADHD, and some might feel ecstatic once the caffeine is consumed, but some might feel relaxed while at it.

How caffeine works with ADHD needs more research and studies to be clarified. The effects of caffeine might not affect them much, or worse, it can worsen their condition and increase specific symptoms they want to avoid, such as lack of focus and concentration.

Some people with ADHD avoid coffee at all cost as it can increase hyperactivity

Does Coffee "Treat" ADHD?

Coffee or energy drinks, on the other hand, isn't an ADHD medication. But, it does provide that effect on an individual for every caffeine use. For example, young adults with ADHD take coffee with their ADHD medications. This can help them reduce some inhibitions, like the nervousness of using medicines that affect their mind and body functions. Sometimes, coffee acts as a relaxant, in the sense that it can help ease the mind or reduce the pain. 

Caffeine consumption has adverse effects on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, it may positively affect some individuals with this condition. Some might feel increased focus when having their caffeinated drink. But it is still not advisable to consume too much caffeine since excessive intake can cause different symptoms in the long run. How much caffeine is enough for you should be carefully monitored to prevent any health problems that may further occur.

For others, coffee can have the opposite effect and make them relaxed...
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Coffee Can Amplify These ADHD Symptoms

Caffeine is a stimulant that may help us in some situations, but more likely, it would significantly affect us. When a person with ADHD turns to coffee as an ADHD medication, the result may be acceptable at first. But when our brains tolerate the moderate doses that we have, our ADHD symptoms might get affected or even amplified by it. Here are a few examples:

  • Having a restless, hyperactive mind may produce sleep deprivation to us. When we intake coffee, we might feel relaxed at the first few cups. However, it can further lead to insomnia that might have been caused by both the coffee and our hyperactive brain.
  • The jitters and anxiety can also be a result of hyperactivity. Coffee intake may help us feel relaxed, but too much caffeine consumption affects our nervous system. It may lead to increased anxiety and restlessness while we don't need it.
  • Caffeine is addicting. There's a possibility of addiction to caffeine that may affect your mental health. This can lead to more problems like mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, and even substance or drug abuse. 
  • As much as we want to treat our neurodivergent brain, caffeine isn't part of ADHD medications, and it is more likely a stimulant medication that can push us to have increased concentration and critical thinking. However, even though it is a stimulant, coffee can further cause effects on our brain.
  • Coffee can cause heart palpitations, which may further lead to anxiety.

There may be a positive effect that you may experience, but excessive caffeine and ADHD don't typically work and can produce many serious health problems. If your goal is to have an ADHD treatment, it is better to consult medical experts regarding your condition. Extreme doses of caffeine found in coffee might not be a treat after all.

Many adults unaware of their ADHD rely strongly on coffee to help them focus

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder's Safety Measures on Caffeinated Drinks

Caffeine, which is more commonly found in coffee, may have different components that contribute to an individual's health. However, caffeine is considered safe when taken within limits of 400 mg or 4 cups per day if you are an adult. As mentioned above, excessive intake of this stimulant beverage may cause various symptoms, especially for ADHD. There are also plenty of liquids that have caffeine. Energy drinks might have caffeine as their main ingredient, and so do soda and tea. However, it is still crucial to monitor our coffee consumption or tea consumption. To further help you with your condition, you need to take note of the following safety measures:

  • Limit caffeine intake. Consuming too much caffeine can cause different effects and side effects to your body. Moderate consumption is good for you, but never forget that it can lead to addiction and cause health problems.
  • When drinking coffee, drink water as well. It helps flush out toxins and other chemicals found in your caffeinated drink. This can also limit the effects of caffeine on your ADHD symptoms.
  • Don't consider drinks with caffeine as part of your ADHD treatment or ADHD medications. To be sure of this, consult mental health experts regarding its effects.
  • Hyperfocus is an ADHD trait that can make us skip meals due to the boost focus on something we find interesting. Caffeine use may further increase our dopamine levels, but it is possible to have an upset stomach and hyperacidity because of this. 
  • We shouldn't forget that our body needs a healthier alternative for reducing ADHD symptoms. There are plenty of options for treating ADHD with natural foods or natural drinks. The regulated caffeine intake may help us attain what we want to happen, such as a good night's sleep.
  • Sports drinks aren't necessarily miracle drinks that make us stronger once ingested. Having regular exercise and a good diet will not further require you to enhance your skills and health conditions with these caffeinated beverages.
In some cases, they can develop an extreme need for coffee

Caffeine and ADHD may have a love-hate relationship, but you need to consider limiting your caffeine consumption to have a healthier life.  Although a healthy body is possible through caffeine consumption, too much can produce the opposite effect. You might be in a long-term relationship with coffee, but its impact on your mental and physical well-being can sometimes have the opposite effect that you might want to have.

ADHD & Coffee

ADHD and Coffee FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does Coffee make ADHD worse?

To begin with, coffee affects people differently regardless of their mental health condition. On top of that, a lot of other factors can influence how coffee affects a person, such as the amount of caffeine in a cup and how many cups someone consumes. Hence, coffee’s effects on ADHD is not something that can be specifically quantified. For some, it’s beneficial; for others, it’s not.

Why do some people “treat” caffeine as an ADHD medicine?

Like mentioned earlier, some people with ADHD gain benefits from drinking coffee. For example, they might notice that upon caffeine intake, they become more awake and able to focus. For this reason, they might depend on caffeine to ease their ADHD symptoms (being tired and unable to focus), treating coffee like a medicine. However, please be reminded that caffeine is NOT a medicine for ADHD.

How do you drink coffee healthily when you have ADHD?

The best way to go about it is to, of course, drink coffee in moderation and see how it affects you. If it has the desired effects, try not to increase your intake. If you have an existing ADHD medicine, always consult your doctor on how caffeine influences the effects of the medicine.

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