Treating ADHD with Caffeine: Can Caffeine Help Treat ADHD?

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Prescription options

Among the medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD today is Adderall (amphetamine, dextroamphetamine). This drug is a powerful stimulant that works on chemicals in the brain and nerves to improve focus. Dangerous side effects include: dizziness, fainting, increased blood pressure, severe headaches, chest pain and blurred vision. More common side effects are: headaches, insomnia, bowel trouble (diarrhea or constipation), dry mouth, loss of appetite or impotence. It is also said that long term use of the drug may slow a child’s growth.

Though the list of drug precautions is exhaustive, the options are few for many. Dealing with the daily bouts of hyperactivity, inability to focus and impulsivity due to ADHD can be exasperating. Easing the burden with medical intervention may prove to be a positive course of action. Recently, studies have shown that an unexpected source of support may assist with symptoms- caffeine.


Like prescription medications, caffeine is also considered a drug because it works the same way as the prescribed- by stimulating the central nervous system. Caffeine, for most people, provides a temporary boost of energy, and may elevate ones mood. In ADHD afflicted individuals, the effects are reversed- helping one focus, and stay on task, even relaxing the individual. One of the benefits is that caffeine is widely available. Sources of caffeine include: chocolate, soft drinks, and the ever popular cup of Jo (coffee).

Caffeine is considered safe in moderation, making it a less risky approach to treatment. Amounts of 200- 300mg daily for adults, and less for children (depending on age and size) are recommended. The common cola contains anywhere from 38- 45 mg of caffeine per 12oz., but a mere 5 ounces of brewed coffee can boast a much bigger dose (over 100mg).


Treatments options should be evaluated and discussed with a medical doctor, but it is important to note that individuals in search of solutions for their ADHD dilemmas do have hope, whether at the drug store or in the Starbucks line.