You might be surprised to know that caffeine is considered to be a drug. In fact, as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported, it is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. Caffeine, like the most common prescription drugs used for treatment of ADHD in NYC, is a stimulant. But does that mean it will be good for adults with ADD?
The answer is a resounding, “It depends.”
“A few studies have looked at how caffeine can affect ADHD symptoms, but the results have been mixed,” the experts at WebMD report. “Even though caffeine is a stimulant, it’s not generally recommended as a treatment for ADHD because it hasn’t proved to be as effective as prescription medications.”
What Is Caffeine
As KidsHealth.org explains, “Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system, causing increased alertness. Caffeine gives most people a temporary energy boost and elevates mood.”
Caffeine can be found naturally in more than 60 plants, but the most common sources for the caffeinated products you consume are:
- Coffee beans
- Tea leaves
- Kola nuts (used in soft drinks)
- Cacao pods (used in chocolate)
It is classified as a psychoactive drug because it stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine can:
- Make you feel energized and awake
- Act as a diuretic, making you go to the bathroom more frequently
- Elevate your blood pressure
- Improve your mood
Too much caffeine, however, can have harmful effects, including:
- Upset stomach
- Restlessness and shakiness
- Migraine headaches
How Do Caffeinated Drinks Affect ADHD
According to WebMD, “Stimulants, including caffeine, raise the amount of specific chemicals that your brain uses to send signals. One of these is dopamine. It’s linked to pleasure, attention, and movement.”
WebMD reports that some research indicates caffeine might be helpful for adults with ADHD, but there are also reasons for caution.
In addition to the risks associated with consuming too much caffeine (more than 400 milligrams), WebMD reports that, “A study found that caffeine was much less effective than dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin), two kinds of medication commonly used to treat ADHD.”
And, of course, each of us may have a different reaction to caffeine. At the Sachs Center, our adult ADD/ADHD specialists are up to date on the latest science and research, but we believe that you are unique and that your story, your experiences and your needs are also important considerations.
Dr. Sachs has developed a unique holistic protocol for managing and treating symptoms of ADD in adults. This model used at our clinic in NYC uses psychoeducational testing, individual therapy and medication if warranted. For those individuals that do not want to take medication, we have found neurofeedback for ADHD can be effective.
For more information, call 646-603-0491.