Attention deficit disorder and caffeine

Is This Natural Treatment Safe & Effective?

Coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, chocolate — many of us consume caffeine throughout the day for a quick, temporary energy surge. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and boosts dopamine production — both of which help the body with movement, attention, and focus.

In the context of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD), treatments often include stimulant medication, which has a similar effect. But is caffeine a viable option to help manage ADHD symptoms? Is it safe for adults and children? What about side effects? Here, we break down the most common effects of caffeine, its safety, and the most recent research available.

[People Also Ask: How Should I Treat My Child’s ADHD?]

How does caffeine affect the brain and body?

Caffeine affects each individual differently. While most experts deem moderate consumption of this natural stimulant safe1, too much caffeine may result in side effects that range from nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and upset stomach to restlessness, migraines, sleeplessness, and muscle tremors.

In addition to alertness and increased focus, caffeine may help weaken headaches, boost memory, and even ward off certain diseases, including cancers, Alzheimer’s2, and Parkinson’s3.

“In a general sense, caffeine does tend to improve our performance,” noted Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., M.B.A., the author of More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults With ADHD (#CommissionsEarned) and Integrative Treatment for Adult ADHD: A Practical, Easy-to-Use Guide for Clinicians (#CommissionsEarned) 4, in a video5 for ADDitude. He adds, however, that those taking ADHD medication may report feeling extra jittery after consuming too much caffeine. And when certain medications combine with caffeine, they may interact poorly.


[Free Guide To Natural ADHD Treatment Options]

How does caffeine affect ADHD?

The effects of caffeine consumption on ADHD remain largely anecdotal. The stimulant calms some people, while increasing anxiety in others. However, many parents and adults with ADHD, (and some studies) report light to moderate caffeine use as a way to help boost focus and concentration.

Tuckman, however, notes that patients taking stimulant medication for ADHD tend to crave caffeine less. “The amount of caffeine you’d need to consume to affect ADHD would probably cause agitation,” said Larry Silver, M.D.6, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. “I don’t recommend drinking caffeinated beverages [or taking caffeine-containing pills] as a way to treat ADHD.”

How much caffeine is safe?

The Mayo Clinic7 reports 400 milligrams of caffeine each day is safe for an adult; that’s about four cups of coffee. In children, the maximum caffeine intake varies by age, with the 4- to 6-year-old age range at 45 milligrams per day, and 85 milligrams (roughly one 8-ounce cup) for a 10 to 12-year-old. Pregnant women or those trying to conceive should limit caffeine to a maximum of 300 milligrams per day.

What does the research say about treating ADHD with caffeine?

Researchers studying caffeine in relation to ADHD is nothing new, but the actual body of research remains relatively small and inconclusive.

[Get Your Free Guide: What to Eat (and Avoid) For Improved ADHD Symptoms]

A 2011 study8 published in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ideas reports tea consumption may prove effective to help treat ADHD in adults. Another study9 that same year found a significant improvement in attention deficit disorder in rats who consumed caffeine.

A 2014 review10 in the journal Psychopharmacol called for further investigation of caffeine’s therapeutic potential as a therapy or an adjunctive agent in ADHD. And a 2013 study11 published in European Neuropsychopharmacology suggests that caffeine could be useful as a treatment, as it appears to normalize levels of dopamine and improve attention in people with ADHD.

What’s the bottom line on ADHD and caffeine?

In 2017, we received more than 4,000 responses to our ADDitude survey12 from caregivers and adults navigating ADHD treatment. When asked about dietary habits, one respondent reported: “We try to reduce sugars, caffeine (chocolate), and increase protein,” while another noted that “caffeine is good, but not excessive amounts.” And yet another responded that she uses fish oil, caffeine, vitamin D, and exercise to manage symptoms.

In other words, it appears there is no single best practice being recommended by medical professionals or followed by patients.

The bottom line on caffeine use: While one person may manage symptoms with a cup of coffee in the morning, another may not. What works best isn’t always the treatment recommended by their doctors or used by the most people.

How to Treat ADHD in Children: Next Questions

  1. What ADHD medications are used to treat children?
  2. Is ADHD medication right for my child?
  3. What are common side effects associated with ADHD medication?
  4. What natural treatments help kids with ADHD?
    • What are the most effective natural ADHD treatments for kids?
    • What foods can help control ADHD symptoms?
    • What vitamins and supplements should my child take?
    • Does brain training help with ADHD?
    • How much and what type of exercise helps kids with ADHD?
    • What types of therapy help patients with ADHD?
  5. What if the medication stops working?
  6. How can I find an ADHD specialist near me?


Melanie A. Heckman, Jorge Weil, Elvira Gonzalez De Mejia. “Caffeine (1, 3, 7‐trimethylxanthine) in Foods: A Comprehensive Review on Consumption, Functionality, Safety, and Regulatory Matters.” Journal of Food Science (2010):

2“Caffeine’s Effect on Memory, Cognition, and Alzheimer’s.” Caffeine Informer. Accessed December 20, 2018.

3Kumar, Prakash M., Swe Swe Thet Paing, HuiHua Li, R. Pavanni, Y. Yuen, Y. Zhao, and Eng King Tan. “Differential Effect of Caffeine Intake in Subjects with Genetic Susceptibility to Parkinson’s Disease.” Nature News. (November 02, 2015.) Accessed December 20, 2018.

4“More Attention, Less Deficit.” More Attention, Less Deficit. Accessed December 20, 2018.

5ADDitude Magazine. “ADHD and Caffeine: Is It An Effective Alternative Treatment?” YouTube. (August 17, 2011.) Accessed December 20, 2018.

6Larry Silver. “Caffeine as a Treatment.” ADDitude. (July 07, 2017.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

7“Caffeine: How Much Is Too Much?” Mayo Clinic. (March 08, 2017.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

8Kezhi Liu, Xuemei Liang, Weihong Kuang. “Tea Consumption Maybe an Effective Active Treatment for Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” NeuroImage. (February 01, 2011.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

9Miguel Caballero, Fabiana Núñez, Siobhán Ahern, Maria L. Cuffí, Lourdes Carbonell, Silvia Sánchez, Víctor Fernández-Dueñas, Francisco Ciruela. “Caffeine Improves Attention Deficit in Neonatal 6-OHDA Lesioned Rats, an Animal Model of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” NeuroImage. (February 27, 2011.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

10K. Ioannidis, S. R. Chamberlain, and U. Müller. “Ostracising Caffeine from the Pharmacological Arsenal for Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder–was This a Correct Decision? A Literature Review.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. (September 2014.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

11Pablo Pandolfo, Nuno J. Machado, Attila Köfalvi, Reinaldo N. Takahashi, Rodrigo A. Cunha.”Caffeine Regulates Frontocorticostriatal Dopamine Transporter Density and Improves Attention and Cognitive Deficits in an Animal Model of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ” NeuroImage. (May 04, 2012.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

12Devon Frye, and Anni Layne Rodgers. “Special Report: How You Are Treating ADHD or ADD Today.” ADDitude. (September 27, 2018.) Accessed December 21, 2018.

#CommissionsEarned As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication

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How Does Caffeine Affect People With ADHD?

Caffeine. Many of us crave it. Coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks—even chocolate.

Rumblings on social media ask about using caffeine to counteract attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Legitimate medical studies have also investigated the topic.

“I drink lots of coffee, and I’d kind of be a mess without it all. I can see how coffee does help with a whole range of things,” says Jennifer L. Temple, PhD, who has both a personal and professional relationship with caffeine.

“It is the most widely consumed drug in the world, but it’s still a drug,” says Temple, who has studied caffeine and its psychological and physiological interactions among those ages 8 to 17 as director of the Nutrition and Health Research Laboratory, University at Buffalo, New York.

“One of the challenges that we ran into with our work in teens was that they were required to be withdrawn from caffeine. They were required to not consume caffeine for several weeks in our studies, and we lost parents,” Temple says, “because they said they use caffeine to manage their children’s ADHD, and they weren’t willing to take them off of it for the time they were in our study. That is not scientific, even remotely, but that was something we ran into anecdotally.”

How Caffeine Stimulates the Body

There’s a brain chemical called adenosine that produces a calm, drowsy feeling as a signal to take it easy or wind down.

Caffeine works as a system override. It blocks adenosine, so that sleepy state isn’t produced, because caffeine takes its place. Voilà—alert instead of groggy.

Using Caffeine for Concentration

What's most consistent in caffeine studies is their inconsistency. Mixed results for those with and without ADHD. A May 2021 publication reviewing several studies stated: “Studies do not support caffeine as having any significant effect on attention, but it does seem to play a role in enhancing processing speed…Most of the data suggest caffeine having significant positive effects on both short-term and long-term memory in the adult and elderly population, but not in children.”

Authors of a large study of children ages 9-10, using guidelines from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox, suggested worse overall cognitive performance with long-term caffeine use in all areas but two: reading decoding (the ability to apply knowledge to letter/sound relationships which helps with pronunciation, spelling and vocabulary comprehension) and inhibitory control (the ability to suppress behavior, thoughts, and emotion).

That means about an equal number of boys and girls scored worse in the ways we process, use, and remember information.

A UK study featured in Nutrients (2020) of adults ages 37-73 (who did not have ADHD) showed lower performance with recent caffeine use (within an hour) during specific tasks: prospective memory (the ability to remember to carry out actions in the future), pairs matching and fluid intelligence (being able to use knowledge we have to solve a new problem in front of us)—which suggested impairments in reasoning and memory.

“Caffeine doesn't really work on the system in the brain that helps you focus it. It just makes you more awake. In general, people are able to focus better when they are awake,” Temple explains.

An interesting study on university students contrasted daily use: caffeine only helped the students’ productivity during the morning hours—referred to as the students’ “suboptimal times” of the day—when they were more likely to be sleepy. Caffeine administered in the afternoon didn’t have the same effect.

“When you're tired, you might have a more difficult time attending to things. Caffeine could potentially help with that,” Temple says. “Not being tired, being more alert—being more awake, feeling more energized can help you focus more, but they don’t work the same way.”

Caffeine and ADHD Medications

Medical experts do not advise using caffeine as a treatment or replacement for ADHD medication. Caffeine doesn’t target ADHD symptoms as effectively as proven prescriptions. And caffeine plus medication “can result in dangerously acute jitteriness or out-of-control impulsivity,” according to CHADD, a national resource for children and adults with ADHD.

Besides, other challenges arise. Sleep can be lost to both ADHD meds and caffeine, creating insomnia that can elevate ADHD symptoms and complicate its use as a fatigue fighter.

“I think there are some people who feel like caffeine could act as an enhancer of the effects of the ADHD medication—so the caffeine can make you feel more awake, and the ADHD medication can help you focus more—but they work differently,” Temple says.

Before combining medication with caffeine, check with your doctor. Certain medications—including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics, and cardiac meds—and medical conditions don’t mix with caffeine and can cause reactions or intensify negative side effects. Parents, teens, and kids should discuss typical caffeine use—and sleep onset and quality—with their pediatrician.

While both caffeine and the most common ADHD drugs are central nervous system stimulants, their main targets differ.

Prescribed stimulant medications even work differently for the neurotypical adult or child versus those with ADHD. ADHD medications calm hyperactive and impulsive ADHD traits, targeting dopamine and norepinephrine activity of the brain. A theory is there are lower levels or less efficient processing or release of dopamine with ADHD, and those neurotransmitters help with messaging in the brain.

While ADHD meds attend to brain chemicals by optimizing their levels, this is not caffeine’s primary goal. Caffeine works on the adenosine system which is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.

“When you're tired at the end of the day, the adenosine system gets you ready for sleep. It helps your body shut down and makes you feel sleepy," Temple explains. "So caffeine doesn't really directly impact your ability to focus. It just helps you be more awake."

Medication and caffeine work in different systems in the brain with separate receptors and different outcomes. "That's not to say that there aren't ways in which the systems interact, but caffeine's not going to have the same impact,” Temple says.

Risks of Caffeine

A caffeine withdrawal headache isn't fun. Jitters from drinking too much coffee aren't either. Caffeine can cause side effects and drug interactions. Seek medical attention if heart palpitations accompany caffeine use.

In moderate amounts, caffeine is often well-tolerated. Temple’s research yielded temporary changes in blood pressure and heart rate among youth participants. Effects vary individually, like the variable amount of caffeine in a beverage. So do effects over time—a tolerance often develops, requiring higher amounts.

The effects of too much caffeine can include:

  • Jittery feeling

  • Restlessness

  • Nervousness

  • Increased anxiety

  • Increased agitation

  • Hand unsteadiness

  • Digestive upset/nausea

  • Habit forming

  • Dysphoria (a feeling of unhappiness)

  • Headache/irritability from withdrawal

  • Medication interactions/interference

  • Insomnia and resulting fatigue

  • Disrupts natural body rhythms, sleep-wake cycle (by blocking adenosine)

  • Dehydration

  • Temporary changes in blood pressure and heart rate (with moderate use, though variable)

These risks are even more serious if you have heart or blood pressure issues, or are pregnant.

A cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine, but that varies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against energy drinks/shots and advises teens not to exceed 100 mg of caffeine a day. For adults without medical restrictions, the FDA advises 400 mg or less of caffeine daily—about four cups of Joe, two energy shots, or 10 cans of cola.

More than that amount for kids and teens can cause harm in some subgroups—like those with psychiatric and cardiac conditions, according to Temple’s caffeine literature review. She says her participants had minor, temporary effects with typical moderate use, deemed “relatively safe.”

Medication does interact and can intensify or amplify side effects, so figure out next steps with a physician, and let them know about herbal supplements you take as well.

Avoid caffeine powders—under scrutiny by the FDA for misuse. Small amounts of caffeine powders contain high levels of caffeine that quickly can be dangerously toxic, and on rare occasions, fatal—a teaspoon of pure caffeine powder equates to 28 cups of coffee.

Beware—supplements marketed as enhancing workouts and muscles often contain caffeine, in ingredients such as guarana and yerba mate.

Caffeine has a proven track record of keeping folks of all ages awake at bedtime if it’s consumed too late—and sleeplessness can mimic and amplify symptoms of ADHD. Growth and development occur while kids sleep.

“I tell parents that the biggest risk is lack of sleep, and it really affects the kids’ sleep-wake cycle—and kids need sleep,” Temple says. “There’s already a lot of things that are competing for sleep time—screens especially—and when you add the caffeine to it, it can just become this vicious shortened sleep duration, and can also impact sleep quality.”

Both caffeine and some ADHD medications affect sleep, so let your physician know about caffeine use and insomnia so they can help stave off the effects of sleep deprivation that exaggerate already significant challenges of ADHD like forgetfulness, difficulties concentrating, emotionality, and behavior including acting out or aggression.

“Don’t drink it later in the day, because you’re going to have a hard time falling asleep.” Temple says. “But because the half-life is short, if you drink it in the morning, it’s not going to keep you up at night, which is a bonus of it.”

Can Caffeine Help ADHD?

Studies agree caffeine is less effective than ADHD medications.

“The combination of the fact that it has a short half-life, especially compared to the longer acting ADHD medications, and the fact that it's not really directly targeting the neural mechanism that underlies attention and focus, it's not a substitute,” Temple says. “It's not a good substitute at all.”

Bodies of research show caffeine is inferior to treatment with stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD, which improve symptoms for 70% to 80% of ADHD kids and adults within a few hours.

“The research is not there to show that caffeine is an effective strategy to manage ADHD. It is a stimulant like methylphenidate [Ritalin], and the stimulants that we give to kids with ADHD, but caffeine doesn't work the same way at all. You get that peak of caffeine, and then you sometimes get a crash, and so it’s just not effective over the long term in terms of helping manage any kind of symptoms,” Temple says.

“If you want to help your kid pay attention in school all day, caffeine with a half-life of about four hours is only going to help them pay attention in first, maybe second period, and that’s about it. Whereas with the ADHD meds, they are formulated so that they are slow release and longer lasting, so that you can get management of symptoms over the whole day.”

Trying to tackle inattention with caffeine, or without an experienced ADHD professional’s evaluation, also leaves out a supportive network that a diagnosis provides. Data shows ADHD symptoms benefit from a combination of behavioral therapy from health professionals experienced with treating ADHD, strong family and school and/or workplace support including 504 plans or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)—school staff and social workers can assist in their creation—and, if appropriate, medication with frequent check-ins to update or revise plans.

How Caffeine Affects People with ADHD Differently

There’s not a one-size-fits-all for cups of caffeine—it affects everyone differently. One young man with ADHD relayed his experience of medication and caffeine:

"Caffeine doesn't do anything for me. The medication is different, it just makes things click—it's less of a fight to focus and helps me pay attention better."

Experts say more research into the long-term effects of caffeine and ADHD medication—including the impact of stimulant medication on ADHD-related structural and functional brain alterations—is warranted.

It's important to point out that caffeine can adversely affect behavior, mood disorders, and is also linked to panic attacks—which can occur with ADHD. Anxiety disorders happen three times more often in people with ADHD compared to the general population, according to a 2019 study. A 2022 follow-up suggested “caffeine-related genes" (that's right, some evidence suggests genetics impacts the way we process and respond to caffeine) play a role in causing anxiety disorder traits among adults and children with ADHD.

Combined or studied separately, the research clearly shows at least one through-line: ADHD stimulants consistently perform better than caffeine and more effectively address symptoms. So consider other motivators to entice you out of bed!

  • Temple J. L. (2019). Review: Trends, Safety, and Recommendations for Caffeine Use in Children and Adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 58(1), 36–45.
  • Fiani, B., Zhu, L., Musch, B. L., Briceno, S., Andel, R., Sadeq, N., & Ansari, A. Z. (2021). The Neurophysiology of Caffeine as a Central Nervous System Stimulant and the Resultant Effects on Cognitive Function. Cureus, 13(5), e15032.
  • Zhang, H., Lee, Z. X., & Qiu, A. (2020 June). Caffeine intake and cognitive functions in children. Psychopharmacology, 237(10), 3109–3116. https://doi. org/10.1007/s00213-020-05596-8
  • CHADD, Q&A: What about caffeine for ADHD? Published February 2017.
  • Vázquez, J. C., Martin de la Torre, O., López Palomé, J., & Redolar-Ripoll, D. (2022). Effects of Caffeine Consumption on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Treatment: A Systematic Review of Animal Studies. Nutrients, 14(4), 739.
  • European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. (2017, September 4). Is ADHD really a sleep problem?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2022 from
  • Penetar, D., McCann, U., Thorne, D., Kamimori, G., Galinski, C., Sing, H., Thomas, M., & Belenky, G. (1993). Caffeine reversal of sleep deprivation effects on alertness and mood. Psychopharmacology, 112(2-3), 359–365.
  • Fraporti TT, Contini V, Tovo-Rodrigues L et al, Synergistic effects between ADORA2A and DRD2 genes on anxiety disorders in children with ADHD, Prog. Neuro-Psychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry, Volume 93, 2019, Pages 214-220, ISSN 0278-5846, (
  • Reichert, C. F., Deboer, T., & Landolt, H. P. (2022). Adenosine, caffeine, and sleep-wake regulation: state of the science and perspectives. Journal of sleep research, 31(4), e13597.
  • Carrillo, J. A., & Benitez, J. (2000). Clinically significant pharmacokinetic interactions between dietary caffeine and medications. Clinical pharmacokinetics, 39(2), 127–153.
  • Anas Sohail, A., Ortiz, F., Varghese, T., Fabara, S. P., Batth, A. S., Sandesara, D. P., Sabir, A., Khurana, M., Datta, S., & Patel, U. K. (2021). The Cognitive-Enhancing Outcomes of Caffeine and L-theanine: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 13(12), e20828. 20828
  • Kahathuduwa, C. N., Wakefield, S., West, B. D., Blume, J., Dassanayake, T. L., Weerasinghe, V. S., & Mastergeorge, A. (2020). Effects of L-theanine-caffeine combination on sustained attention and inhibitory control among children with ADHD: a proof-of-concept neuroimaging RCT. Scientific reports, 10(1), 13072.
  • Gross M. D., Caffeine in the treatment of children with minimal brain dysfunction or hyperkinetic syndrome. Psychosomatics: J. Consult. Liaison Psychiatry (1975). [PubMed]
  • Baer R. A. (1987). Effects of caffeine on classroom behavior, sustained attention, and a memory task in preschool children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 20(3), 225–234.
  • Ágoston, C., Urbán, R., Horváth, Z., van den Brink, W., & Demetrovics, Z. (2022). Self-Medication of ADHD Symptoms: Does Caffeine Have a Role? Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, 813545.
  • Cordova, M. M., Antovich, D. M., Ryabinin, P., Neighbor, C., Mooney, M. A., Dieckmann, N. F., Miranda-Dominguez, O., Nagel, B. J., Fair, D. A., & Nigg, J. T. (2022). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Restricted Phenotypes Prevalence, Comorbidity, and Polygenic Risk Sensitivity in the ABCD Baseline Cohort. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 61(10), 1273–1284.
  • US Food and Drug Administration, Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? Updated 12/12/2018.
  • US Food and Drug Administration, Pure and Highly Concentrated Caffeine, updated 03/30/2021.
  • Cappelletti, S., Piacentino, D., Sani, G., & Aromatario, M. (2015). Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug?. Current neuropharmacology, 13(1), 71–88.
  • Heid, Markham, Should Parents Worry About Kids Drinking Coffee? Time, September 5, 2019.
  • Lara D. R. (2010). Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disorders. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease : JAD, 20 Suppl 1, S239–S248.
  • Ioannidis K, Chamberlain SR, Müller U. Ostracising caffeine from the pharmacological arsenal for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder--was this a correct decision? A literature review. Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). 2014 Sep;28(9):830-836. DOI: 10.1177/0269881114541014. PMID: 24989644.
  • IJzerman, A. P., Jacobson, K. A., Müller, C. E., Cronstein, B. N., & Cunha, R. A. (2022). International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. CXII: Adenosine Receptors: A Further Update. Pharmacological reviews, 74(2), 340–372.
  • Leon, M Roth, Effects of caffeine on cognitive, psychomotor, and affective performance of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Journal of Attention Disorders (2000)4 (1):27-47. Doi:10.1177/108705470000
  • Yang, A., Palmer, A. A., & de Wit, H. (2010). Genetics of caffeine consumption and responses to caffeine. Psychopharmacology, 211(3), 245–257.
  • Fraporti, T. T., Bandeira, C. E., Tovo-Rodrigues, L., Martins-Silva, T., Hutz, M. H., Rohde, L. A., Bau, C. H. D., Grevet, E. H., da Silva, B. S., Rovaris, D. L., Dresch, F., Contini, V., & Genro, J. P. (2022, Jan). Caffeine-related genes influence anxiety disorders in children and adults with ADHD. Journal of psychiatric research, 145, 353–360.

Notes: This article was originally published November 16, 2022 and most recently updated December 13, 2022.

Caffeine may help treat attention and memory symptoms in ADHD Detonic

Scripted by Deep Shukla April 8, 2022- Fact reviewed Posted by Hilary Gite, FFPH, MRCGP

  • Current evaluation indicates that caffeine can successfully counteract attention deficit, discovery and memory in home versions of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Information on the effect of caffeine on attention deficit disorder and spontaneity was combined.
  • Caffeine can be used to treat people with ADHD, whose symptoms are usually related to attention deficit disorder, but scientists will certainly need to test these results in human studies.

A current assessment summarizing the scientific research on ADHD in pets suggests that caffeine may help manage cognitive symptoms such as attention, search and memory deficits in people with ADHD.

Information on the effect of caffeine on attention deficit disorder and spontaneity has been combined and it has been suggested that caffeine may not be appropriate for people with ADHD with these specific symptoms.

Study co-author Javier Vasquez, a scientist at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, explains why they decided to study the results of caffeine:

childhood and adolescence. That's why it's useful to study the effectiveness of other substances like caffeine."

Their study was intended to summarize ongoing studies that have looked at the restorative effects of caffeine in home versions of ADHD.

Estimate appears in Nutrients magazine.


  1. ADHD and energizers
  2. Effects of caffeine on cognition
  3. Use of caffeine for ADHD therapy

ADHD and energizers

ADHD is a psychological problem affecting children and adults. According to a 2016 nationwide study, 9.4% of young adults and teens ages 2 to 17 in the United States actually received a medical diagnosis of ADHD. The frequency of ADHD in adults in the US was 0.96% in 2016 compared to 0.43% in 2007, yet ADHD is still underdiagnosed in adults.

ADHD is defined by problems with maintaining attention, attention deficit disorder or anxiety, and spontaneous actions. There are 3 main subtypes of ADHD, with one of the most typical subtypes being defined by people who exhibit all 3 symptoms. The other 2 subtypes entail sloppy symptoms without ADD or ADD and spontaneity without sloppiness.

Commonly used ADHD medications consist of stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, concerta) and amphetamines.

Despite the common misconception that antidepressants can make ADHD worse in people with ADHD, drugs such as Ritalin often have a relaxing effect on these people.

Abnormal levels of brain chemicals or natural chemicals made up of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are associated with ADHD symptoms. a natural chemical that governs the ability to concentrate. This may clarify the counterproductive relaxing effects of these drugs in people with ADHD.

While evidence suggests that long-term use of energy drinks such as Ritalin is safe and helpful in relieving ADHD symptoms, some people with ADHD may be less able to tolerate these drugs.

Caffeine differs from other antidepressants in its mechanism of action and may provide an alternative to currently used antidepressants for ADHD.

Dr. Lydia Zylowska, a psychoanalyst at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and author of The Mindfulness Recipe for Adults with ADHD, told MNT:

"Many adults with ADHD self-medicate with caffeine, and knowing more about its effects on people with ADHD would help us understand who and how caffeine may or may not benefit."

Dr. Zylowska explained why caffeine can be a great option for prescription drugs in some cases:

“Caffeine has a unique mechanistic profile[…] and may be a good option for those who are not helped or who cannot tolerate standard drugs from ADHD. We always need more tools in the ADHD toolbox.”

However, she emphasized that studies of caffeine in clients with ADHD were small, minimal, and mostly outdated, with most being preclinical studies with pets.

Effects of caffeine on cognition

In today's study, scientists summarized 13 pet studies conducted in 2005 that examined the effects of caffeine on ADHD symptoms.

Evaluation has shown that caffeine therapy minimizes the attention deficit and various other cognitive features seen in ADHD.

In particular, caffeine therapy increased olfactory discrimination, attention, retrieval, memory retention, temporal memory, and functional memory in adolescent and adult pets with ADHD-like symptoms.

In terms of improvement, caffeine therapy did not correct body weight or high blood pressure, which are some of the problems associated with energy drinks.

Compared to the effects of caffeine on cognition, information on the effect of caffeine on attention deficit disorder was pooled. What's more, age and gender affected caffeine outcomes in attention deficit disorder.

Only among the studies reviewed was the effect of caffeine on impulsivity. Research has shown that caffeine minimizes impulsivity in the short term, but enhances performance after ongoing therapy.

The lack of a clear effect of caffeine on attention deficit disorder and impulsivity in ADHD suggests that caffeine can only be used to treat people whose symptoms are primarily related to attention deficit disorder.

The studies summarized in the review also show that caffeine therapy normalizes thought processes in ADHD. By circumstances, caffeine increases dopamine and serotonin levels, which are lowered in people with ADHD.

Use of caffeine for the treatment of ADHD

The ability of caffeine to reduce cognitive symptoms and improve mental performance associated with ADHD in pet versions suggests that caffeine can be used to treat symptoms of ADHD in humans.

However, the authors mean that more research is needed to verify these results before caffeine can be used to treat ADHD.

Dr. Mark Stein, program manager for ADHD and related disorders at Seattle Children's Hospital, told MNT: “Human studies show a modest beneficial effect of caffeine on ADHD symptoms, with large variability in response, over time, and tolerance issues. like bad sleep.

He also mentioned that most people with ADHD need "more intense and powerful interventions."

“[F]or in people with subclinical ADHD symptoms or mild ADHD symptoms, caffeine may play a role. However, caution should be exercised when generalizing safety and efficacy data from animal studies for people with ADHD who have both symptoms and impaired functioning.”
- Dr. Mark Stein


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Catalonia highlights the benefits of coffee for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Spain in Russian

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Scientists and doctors from all over the world do not stop arguing about the benefits and harms of coffee. More recently, a group of experts from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), coordinated by professor of neuroscience Diego Redoljar, considered the possibility of including caffeine in the therapeutic arsenal to alleviate some of the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A study published in the scientific journal Nutrients concludes that rational caffeine intake can increase attention and retention in children and adults with this mental disorder.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental disorder that has become increasingly apparent in children and adults in the last twenty years. It currently affects between 2% and 5% of the Spanish child population and up to 4% of the adult population. Specialists have not yet identified a specific therapeutic approach for the treatment of the disorder, so experts continue to explore various components and substances that may offer new treatment options for patients with this diagnosis.

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