Caffeine and ADHD: What You Should Know

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that affects children and adults. An estimated 2.5% of adults and 8.4% of children have ADHD.

Typical symptoms of ADHD include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. This can affect children’s classrooms and adults’ workplaces. Additionally, ADHD is known to have an impact on social skills and daily tasks, but this depends on the age and severity of the condition.

Read on to learn more about the relationship between caffeine and ADHD, including associated risks and benefits.

Caffeine stimulates the body

Caffeine is found in many beverages you drink throughout the day, such as coffee, tea, soda, and some energy drinks. Caffeine is known to stimulate the nervous system and brain.

When caffeine enters the body, it increases dopamine production. This is a neurochemical in the brain that controls your ability to focus.

Caffeine consumption can help improve concentration in the short term, but it can also cause adverse effects, such as difficulty resting or falling asleep at night. It depends on caffeine intake and the age of the individual.

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There are some concerns about the effects of caffeinated beverages on children. Research has shown that caffeine in soft drinks can have emotional and behavioral effects in children. Too much caffeine can also affect children’s reactions and their ability to concentrate and cooperate, which can affect their relationships at school, with family, and at play.

Caffeine Affects ADHD

Caffeine constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow. The effects of caffeine are similar to those of the common ADHD drug Adderall, a type of amphetamine. ADHD medications are known to target the central nervous system to improve concentration. When caffeine is ingested, it can have a similar effect by increasing dopamine production and blocking adenosine, which relaxes blood vessels.

Caffeine and ADHD Medications

Common medications for ADHD include:

  • Adderall (amphetamine)
  • Dextroamphetamine (dextroamphetamine)
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)

If a person takes caffeine while taking this drug, it produces a Synergistic influence. A synergistic effect is the combined effect of taking two drugs (in this case ADHD drugs and caffeine) that have similar results at the same time.

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Both caffeine and prescription drugs contain addictive ingredients, which can lead to increased concentration and an increased risk of side effects. The amount of caffeine will determine whether it helps or hurts. Side effects include:

  • heart rate too fast
  • frequent urination
  • Digestive problems
  • anxiety
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • hypertension

If your child cannot swallow ADHD medication


If you have any questions or concerns about your or your child’s medication and caffeine intake, be sure to contact a healthcare professional. Most adults drink caffeinated beverages in moderation. But you should pay attention to the dosage of the medication, and how much caffeine you consume, to avoid any negative effects.

A healthcare provider can also help you determine an appropriate amount of caffeine. For children, their diet, medications, and caffeine intake should be discussed with a medical professional. Healthcare providers can help determine the best course of action to ensure that ADHD in children is treated as effectively as possible.

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Caffeine is a natural substance that may affect ADHD symptoms and medications. Therefore, it is important to monitor your caffeine intake to understand how it affects you. Caffeine is known for its stimulating effects, which can appeal to those diagnosed with ADHD, but these effects are often short-lived. To find the right treatment for your ADHD, it’s best to speak with a mental health professional to determine the best way to manage the condition.

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If a child is diagnosed with ADHD, they may start with a school counselor and seek help from a health care professional or learning specialist. For adults, it’s important to discuss symptoms with your healthcare provider so they can help you get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Depending on the amount, caffeine may be safe for people diagnosed with ADHD. Discussing the symptoms and effects of caffeine with a healthcare professional can also help you understand your limitations regarding caffeine intake and ADHD.