Caffeine and Adhd

Whats on this page?

  • How caffeine works
  • The new review on caffeine and adhd
  • Pros and cons on caffeine and adhd
  • A warning on caffeine and adhd medications
  • Should you use caffeine for your adhd

Did you know caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world?

First a little lesson on the three imporant ways caffeine works.


  • Caffeine stimulates the effect of dopamine
  • Caffeine keeps us awake by blocking sleep inducing adenosine receptors
  • Caffeine stimulates the release of adrenaline.

The newest study on caffeine and adhd

A new study that reviews 13 animal studies suggests that caffeine may be helpful for adhd! So, if you have adhd and don’t take medication and find yourself feeling more cognitively sharp and focused after your cup of coffee or energy drink it may be a real phenomenon.

What did we learn from this review?

This review did study old clinical research, but it suggests in animals improvement in:

  • olfactory discrimination
  • attention,
  • learning,
  • memory retention,
  • short-term memory
  • and working memory

There is some interest in use of caffeine to treat adhd for those who CANNOT use stimulants. Caffeine did not cause changes in blood pressure or weight loss that are side effects often associated with stimulants according to this review.

However, this review showed it doesn't necessarily calm down hyperactive behavior,  so it doesn't have the same effect as a stimulant medication. There is a lack of evidence to show improvement on hyperactive or impulsive behavior, only inattentive behaviors, in fact some of these studies suggest that it made impulsive behavior worse. There is a big question mark here.

Most fascinating is that caffeine renormalized dopamine and serotonin in animals. This may be why so many people self-medicate with caffeine.

Many people with adhd find it doesn't just kickstart their days, but that it's a beneficial and helpful addition to their lives and helps with executive functioning.

Caffeine can unfortunately cause side effects of anxiety and can interact with stimulants. How and when you choose to use caffeine is a personal choice and must be carefully monitored.

Prior to this review many studies have been done exploring caffeine and it’s use for Adhd. Here are a few that I read.

Read about what I’ve written:

Caffeine and anxiety

What are some of the downsides of Caffeine and Adhd?

 Caffeine and Adhd Cons

  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Upset stomach
  • Less Effective than stimulant
  • Crash
  • No good evidence small and inconclusive
  • Interacts with medications

Can Caffeine Make your Adhd Worse?

Yes. If caffeine keeps you up at night it might increase your executive functioning deficits.  YOu may have increased problems with mood instablity or more diffiuclty with memory and other issues. If it interacts with your medication, it can exacerbate existing issues such as hyperactivity.

Caffeine and Adhd Pros

  • Easy to access
  • May work for you
  • No prescription required
  • Definitely boosts attention

Caffeine and ADHD Warning

adhd and caffeine warning

Caffeine and stimulants have a synergetic effect when taken together this means that they will increase theimpact of one another. They may also increase the side effects of one another. BE very careful because they can interact. If your heart beats fast or you have anxiety while taking your stimulants, it may be your soda or morning coffee doubling the stimulant effect. Be sure to keep this in mind!

Should you use Caffeine to Manage your Adhd?

This is a personal decision between you and your doctor. You may choose after careful deliberation to make caffeine part of your treatment plan, along with exercise, therapy, and other alternatives to medication. Research on caffeine’s benefits are mixed, it's likely to be more helpful for people with mild symptoms, with symptoms of inattention. It's important to keep in mind that how people react to caffeine is dramatically different.

To sum it up , a new study has reviewed animal studies and suggests that caffeine use may be helpful for Adhd symptoms.

  • Generalizing this studies results is limited.
  • It seems caffeine is not helpful for people with impulsive and hyperactive symptoms
  • People vary widely in their symptoms of adhd
  • It seems it may be helpful for people with mild symptoms
  • Caffeine is not as helpful as stimulants





By admin