Updated: Feb 26, 2020
What’s all THE BUZZ surrounding COFFEE and ADHD?
Many parents in presentations I have held and clients of all ages, have recently asked me if I recommend that they or their children drink coffee to manage their ADHD.
I know how much I used to LOVE my cup of coffee first thing in the morning, another one right after, and maybe even another one around lunch time. I have ADHD, but back four months ago, when I was undiagnosed and unmedicated, I drank several cups of coffee and sports drinks throughout the day which helped me to feel more alert. I have recently been prescribed and take a low dose of Adderrall (5mg), twice daily, and must limit my coffee intake as it can make me feel jittery with the mix of these two stimulants.
Before you make the decision on coffee or no coffee for you or your child, consider the information below.
For ease, I have broken this blog post into two categories (children and adults):
For adults, the short answer is, "yes", coffee can act as a stimulant and can make you feel energized and focused for a period of time.
If you drink coffee first thing in the morning, try to consume a glass of hot lemon water first then eat a fat and protein before your first cup of coffee (see my previous blog post Train Your ADHD Brain where I talk more about the "WHY"behind this).
Coffee is addictive! The more you drink coffee the more your body craves it!
Although it is unclear how many children drink coffee, more than 70 percent consume caffeine on a given day.
Children can get a buzz from small amounts of coffee. However, this is not a reliable way to manage inattention. Like adults, too much caffeine can cause a jittery or crash like feeling.
Although there is no link at the moment to brain development and caffeine, children and teen brains are still developing up until the age of 25, possibly even until 30.
Executive functions, which individuals with ADHD struggle with, are still under slight development and strengthened until our mid-20s.
Too much caffeine can lead to negative consequences such as migraines, upset stomach, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations.
Reliable sleep can be impacted. As discussed on my Instagram and Facebook social media feeds @Coachingwithbrooke, lack of sleep can cause more ADHD like symptoms (see my previous blog post Train Your ADHD Brain where I talk more about the "WHY"behind this).
Like adults, if you are taking a stimulant like Adderrall or Ritalin, you want to be careful adding another stimulant to the mix.
In my opinion, coffee should not be substituted for behavioral and/or medication management. If you decide to include coffee in your or your child's diet, make sure to monitor how it makes either of you feel throughout the day and track your reliable sleep.