Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Coffee and ADHD

For those who suffer from ADHD, they may find that drinking coffee could help them be calm and help them focus. There have been no known intense medical studies to confirm this, but parents who have hyperactive children have noticed the benefits on them. the effectiveness of coffee in calming ADHD children has become great discussion among Web sites and forums.
Children with ADHD are usually given drugs like Ritalin and Strattera that increases dopamine levels in the body. Higher levels tend to calm and help overactive minds focus. Coffee can also increase dopamine without the risks associated with [prescriptions. The only side effect coffee has may be a headache from withdrawal. but they should also avoid sweetening their coffee because sugar aggravates the symptoms of ADHD.
Dozens of studies have been done and more continue to seek the health benefits of coffee consumption. One study has shown how coffee has antioxidant benefits for those who drink more than two cups daily. One study shows benefits of increased short term memory. Finally, several have shown a decreased risk for diabetes and liver and breast cancer.

29 comments:

whowho3 said...

Our five year old son has been diagnosed being borderline ADHD, so we don't feel like medication is an option at this time. Has anyone tried treating their child with the caffeine in coffee and gotten proven results in their behavior and ADHD symptoms.

Anonymous said...

TO Whowho3:

LOng story, made short. Our sone either has ADHD/ADD or sensory processing disorder (no autism) bright, sweet,hyperactive kid. We saw a developmental pediatrician (MD) who suggested trying 1/4 cup coffee in the morning. My son weighs 45 pounds and is a three year old. He is very slim and muscular- probably because he runs around all day long!

Anonymous said...

TO Whowho3:

LOng story, made short. Our sone either has ADHD/ADD or sensory processing disorder (no autism) bright, sweet,hyperactive kid. We saw a developmental pediatrician (MD) who suggested trying 1/4 cup coffee in the morning. My son weighs 45 pounds and is a three year old. He is very slim and muscular- probably because he runs around all day long! We have not tried it yet, but will soon. lots of good testimonials online for this. Drugs would be my VERY last resort.

Robin said...

whowho3,
My son is also hyperactive at times. He also has Aspergers (high functioning autism) I do give him coffee and have very good results with it. Caffeine, like Ritalin and other ADHD meds, is a stimulant. It just doesn't have the side effects. Stimulants work differently in children than in adults. When a child becomes an adult, the meds don't work the same, so they are taken off of them. My mother, a drug detox nurse, says she sees a lot of people who were on ADHD drugs. When they are taken off of them, they have nothing to help them, so they turn to stimulant drugs such as cocaine, or meth.
I give my son about 1/2 mug in the morning, I send him to school with an 8oz thermos, and if he needs it after school, I'll give him another 1/2 cup. I use Splenda in it, as regular sugar will increase hyperactivity.
Children often drank coffee regularly 50 years ago, with no ill effects, and no ADHD. I don't know it your son is in school, but if they have a problem with him having coffee, you can get a doctors' order for it, and the school will have to honor it. But do try it at home first, to see if it works for him. You should see results within 15 minutes. Good luck.

Robin said...

whowho3,
My son has hyperactivity. I give him 1/2 mug of coffee in the morning, I send an 8oz thermos with him to school, and if he needs it another 1/2 mug in the afternoon, when he gets home from school. I use Splenda, sugar will increase hyperactivity. I have wonderful results using this. Caffeine and ADHD drugs such as Ritalin are stimulants. They work differently in children than in adults. Stimulants tend to calm children. The problem with the drugs is, when children become adults, they are taken off the meds because they don't work to calm hyperactivity anymore. Now these kids are left with nothing to help them. My mother is a drug detox nurse. She said that most of the people she sees for cocaine and meth (stimulant drugs) addiction were on ADHD drugs at some point, and started using illegal drugs to try to get the same feeling.
Children often drank coffee regularly 50 years ago, with no ill effects (or ADHD). Give it a try. It can't hurt. If necessary, obtain a doctors' order for coffee. If your son is in school, the school will have to honor the doctors' order. If he's only in 1/2 day kindergarten, You may just want to give it to him before school, and don't send any in with him. It will save you another headache from the teachers complaining. Good luck

Anonymous said...

My son was diagnosed with adhd last year and we choose to try medication. He wasn't able to take the medicine the way he should and he didn't like the way he felt on it either. He would have serious fits coming down at night it was horrible. He was also still having issues at school and not making the grades that I felt he should have been making while on the drugs. My friend suggested coffee because her brother used coffee for his ADHD (who was severe ADHD) I started him on 1 cup right before school this year and so far no issues at school and he's making the honor roll for the first time since he started school. Take it for what it is. Use your judgment and follow your heart.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear all of you talk about something other than promoting the drugs for ADHD. My son is 8 and his teachers have suggested that we have him looked at to see if he has ADHD. He has all the classic symptoms: very short attention span, homework not getting done, forgetting what he was suppsed to be doing etc. I am going to try the coffee thing because drugs is the last thing i want my son on. He is bright intelligent and full of character and spirit:i want none of that to be taken away!! So a coffeeing i will go!!

Anonymous said...

Overwhelmed,
I have a 9 yr old daughter who has ADHD. She was retained in the 3grade because she could not stay focused, has a short attention span and is easly distracted. I tried the drug Concerta, that lasted a week. The symptoms were a nightmare for her and myself. Loss of appetite, very moody (mostly bad attitude, cranky) couldn't sleep and really bad headaches, that she couldn't concentrate in school so it defeated the purpose of her taking it if she couldn't concentrate in school. She's very hyper, she starts doing one thing and jumps to doing something else without finishing the first tasks. School is very difficult for her and she hates it. I've done everything that I could for her and just recently heard about the coffee remedy. Now I am definitely going to try the coffee thing. Just one question, "Do you give black coffee with splendor? or Do you put milk in it?"

Robin said...

Coffee with any kind of creamer is fine. Just be sure that if you use a sweetener, be sure to use Splenda, or another artificial sweetener instead of sugar. Sugar itself can make kids very hyper.

Anonymous said...

We did coffee with sugar free creamer for about 3 months. It worked for a while, but then wore off. I think the body adjusts to it and then needs more. Very similar to how the medicine works too. Vyvanse has a little less side effects and our son is doing great on it in school. We may need to increase it some; I think it has leveled off a little though.January was his best month EVER and really did a lot for his self esteem. Downside, eating is still a bit of a problem at times and sleeping at night. For sleeping his doctor recommended 1mg of melatonin. Talk to your doctor. It's all natural, you can get it at GNC. As for the eating; it's not an option not to eat or there is no playing with friends or TV. Stay strong! One other thing that I think doctors overlook is testing out the thyroid. It's simple blood work; i'm looking into that next, just to rule out.

Anonymous said...

I have a 7 year old son who has severe ADHD. I REFUSE to put him on conventional drugs. We have tried several homeopathic remedies to stay focused and calmed and nothing worked. After several hundred dollars, I was so surpised to learn that I should have been giving him MY morning coffee. The very first day at school with coffee the teacher called and said she didn't know what I was doing but to keep doing it. I have also increased his vitamins which help him concentrate more. Lots of research has proven that these kids are deficient in calcium, magnesium and all the OMEGA oils, amongst a lot of other vitamins, but these are the important ones. When we started the additional vitamins his grades improved from not completing assignments or failing to A's and B's. He has a renewed confidence. ALSO staying hydrated improves the brains ability to function. WATER WATER WATER. We give water in the morning and right before bed. If he doesn't have his night water, he wakes up cranky. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!! NO DRUGS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am here researching alternative methods to treat my 8 year old daughter who was just diagnosed as ADD. She LOVES coffee and after reading all the feedback i'm definitley going to try giving her a 1/4 cup of coffee before school. i have also read alot about ADHD children almost always having a magnesium and/or B6 deficiency so am starting those supplements as well. Hopefully we'll see improvement. Myself and teacher have also noticed that there is a problem retaining information and she is being tested through school for any possible learning disabilities. Keep an eye on that...I was lucky her teacher noticed that as my daughter fully participated in reading groups because she was feeding off the comments of her peers. When her teacher worked alone with her she was hardly able to give feedback about what she had just read. I am learning to pay close attention to little usually unnoticed things. I fully beleive in doing full research and trying alternative natural methods.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was a kid. But I didn't care that I got Ds. I was put on ritalin after everything else was exhausted. I hated that drug. Now as an adult the ADD is actually starting to bother me. My dr has suggested that we try various drugs to see which has the right fit. I am on coffee as I type this because I was having a particually bad day and barely able to read a whole sentence. It makes my head feel neat, and I can read.

Anyway just remember that caffine IS A DRUG. It is just much safter and easier to obtain than some others.

Coffee is not the only source of caffine either. They make caffinated water, mints, gum, just about anything you can think of. So if your kid doesn't like coffee find something else they do like.

Also I noticed a lot of you give splenda instead of sugar. Research splenda. It is a chlorocarbon.

To the one who has the 8 year old daughter who can do reading groups. It is a good thing she is learning skills like reading her peers even if she can't read the book. That will help her later in life. :)

Anonymous said...

To whowho3:

I am a 22yr old adult, I've had ADHD all my life. Startin' at the age of around 4yrs old-5yrs old, I've been on Ritalin, Adderall, and Strattera throughout my life. I must say though that caffeine did wonders in helpin'. My doses of the medicine had become so high that I couldn't take the meds anymore without addin' extra to it.
My mother, when I was little, instead of havin' us (me and my older brother who is also ADHD) take the meds on the weekend she would give us coffee, with very little sugar in it. It worked wonders for us, but never lasted very long.

So to answer your question, yes the caffeine does work, but not long term. It's very short lived though. The more it's had (taken?) though the better the effect.

I personally hated the meds. they made me feel...well...not quite myself. I sort of felt like a zombie with the way I would go about my day. I never felt like a "normal" kid because I would have to go to the nurse to take an extra 5-10mgs everyday just to make the meds continue to work. So, I would say turn to the meds. as a last resort. But this just an opinion from someone who who took the meds all her life and then made the decision to stop them when she was 16, and used coffee to keep her in control when she needed it.

Robin said...

For those of you who do have hyperactive children, (and even that don't) please check if your kids are snoring while they sleep. Sometimes children aren't really hyperactive, but just overtired, and they are actually fidgeting just to keep awake, and of course, if they are overtired, they are not going to be able to pay attention to anything. If your child is snoring, chances are he or she has sleep apnea, meaning they stop breathing momentarily in their sleep. This can be life threatening. This can be caused by enlarged tonsils, or adenoids (tissue in the back of the nose,which usually shrinks by age 8). Please take them to an ear, nose, and throat specialist, because they may have to come out. My nephew just had it done, and his hyperactivity has gone down significantly. If your child does have enlarged adenoids, but no problems with the tonsils, do not let them take the tonsils, as they do help fight off infection. Just have the adenoids removed, if necessary. However, if they have no problems with sleeping, do try the coffee (with splenda, or another artifical sweetener, no sugar) or another sugar free beverage with caffeine, as it really does help a lot of kids with hyperactivity.

Adrian said...

I would not recommend using artificial sweeteners, as they increase sugar cravings.

Get your kid used to the taste off sweets now, and they will be eating/drinking sweets like crazy when they get the possibility.

Artificial sweeteners may possibly cause damage too.

So my recommendation: No sugar, no fake sugar.

And caffeine is a drug too. It has more side effects than what the media tells you. What sells is what people want to hear.

That said: Caffeine IS milder and has less side effects than most of the big-buck pharmacy drugs.

But be careful with your child's nutrition!

As mentioned earlier; children with ADHD often have vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Test his/her nutrient levels if you can! Also test the child for allergies.

Some allergies(like gluten allergies) can cause similar symptoms. And as mentioned earlier sleep apnea can too.

James and Celi said...

Adrian,
What is your viewpoint on mixing coffee with stevia or even organic raw honey instead of conventional white sugar and artificial sugar?

Anonymous said...

I have a 5 year old boy full of life very loving child. That is something that I will not sacrifice for better behavior. My son has not been dx as of yet but his kindergarten teacher and I as well have notice some attention problems and following simple directions with that said I'm not convinced he is ADHD. I am on the side of NO DRUGS the side effects are just too much for a 5 year old. My wife and I will be visiting his MD soon to get some answers. I have tried coffee on him but he doesn't like the taste much, but what I did get down him I did see an improvement.

Anonymous said...

I am 58 years old and I have suffered with ADHD symptoms my entire life. When I was a child growing up, there was no place to turn for help and guidance--I had to either figure it out for myself or just end it. After many miserable years of trial and error, I came to understand the importance of a proper diet, and the necessity of getting enough sleep every night. Sugar is the enemy, in any form, and by being super organized and well prepared in advance for stressful situations, I have managed to carve out a good life for myself and my family. Coffee does provide some relief, though it makes me quite jittery, and a small amount early in the day generally will suffice. Be very careful with vitamins--I cannot take them. Something in them acts like sugar and makes me very hyper, jittery and edgy. There is hope for all of your children--provide a safe, quiet, non-stressful environment and ease them into all of the demands they will face the rest of their lives. You cannot and should not try to shield them from life's challenges as they will be unprepared to meet them when the time comes. But your love, understanding and participation along the way will be well rewarded.

Anonymous said...

I'm 12 years old and have ADHD, my therapist said to try coffee an it has helped tremendously with my concentration and organizational skills.

Anonymous said...

It's not necessary to use coffee to get caffeine. Caffeine can come in many different beverages. crystal light has a strawberry flavored powder to mix into water that contains caffeine. You can also buy caffeine pills at the drug store. Check with the doctor or pharmacist to find out how much caffeine is safe to give your child. Different beverages have different amounts, as do caffeine pills. Always check with the doctor if your child has problem with his heart or nervous system before giving caffeine.

Anonymous said...

Just a follow-up on vitamins. I mentioned that I cannot take multivitamins because something in them makes me extremely hyper, jittery and makes all of the ADD symptoms much worse. I've come to find it's the B vitamins that cause this, having recently read about the benefits of B12 and having tried a very small dose with excrutiating results. Be very careful about taking B vitamins or giving your kids vitamin supplements that contain B vitamins. For me, it led to extreme hyperactivity and edginess, and neither my physician nor other ADD knowledgeable people were aware of this connection.

Anonymous said...

Robin - stimulant medication doesn't exactly "work differently" on children than on adults - it works differently on people with ADHD vs people who don't have it. If you give a non-ADHD kid a stimulant, it's not likely to calm them down.

FYI stimulants are prescribed to adults too!! and they work the same way as they do on kids!!

If coffee fixes someone's ADHD, I'd have doubts about whether they actually have ADHD. It should help as it's stimulating, but only to an extent.

Coffee has negative health effects too. For your kids' sake I implore you to read extensively on stimulant medication before dismissing it as an option. DON'T just read the anti-med side of the argument - read both. If you dismiss meds without knowing the facts (especially how safe & beneficial they are when used properly) you're not giving your kid a fair chance. Weigh the facts up against the struggles your kid is likely to go through with untreated ADHD...

Anonymous said...

Knowing that I had add (although never officially diagnosed), I can honestly say that without coffee, I never would have gotten through college. It's probably not as good at ritalin, but it was a poor college student's way of coping with add.

Anonymous said...

I have adhd, coffee does affect me differently, but only for about 20-30 min.. Either it calms me or just about puts me to sleep. Although it doesnt always stop the hyperactive fidgeting for me, it just makes me sleepy along with it. Caffinee isnt worth trying to medicate with. Its not effective enough to last an hour.

Kathy said...

I have been through it all i have two sons one 23 he was diagnosed at 7 I wish I had been more into exploring my options with other ways other than Rx's my 23 yr old sufferd from to many side effects from theses drugs that will scar him for life, My 5yr old so has ADHD as will I have tried some natural way that have showed improvement and am going to try coffee my 5 yr old doen't get much sugar food one becouse he dosen't care for it much and two I don't eat sugar but when he does I don't see any differance in his level energy he's just hyper all the time.

Bob Gardner said...

I have ADD and have had it my entire 62 years as far as I can determine. Ritalin was first given to me for the first time when I was 55. It caused me to get sleepy initially while my body adjusted to it. My doctor told me this was an indication that I have true ADD. As I adjusted to ritalin I was able to focus much better and no longer felt sleepy. I have since moved and my new doctor is anti ritalin so I'm off of it. I tried coffee and it relaxes me to the point of dozing off. I have trained myself to watch for moments of distraction. It's a daily struggle and it's never ending but it can be done. ADD has it's blessings. We normally get the answers while others are still figuring out the problems. We tend to be smarter and faster than others. People that try to organize us are usually anal types who have no understanding of how ADD works. They are only satisfying their own anal organizational needs and distracting us further.

Anonymous said...

My son Is 5 years old going on six he is ADHD runs in boths sides of the family, tried coffee his teacher said he was more active than normal did I give him to much? what is normal amount for a 43 pound kindergarden he is tall and skinny and eats all day long small amounts about 6 times a day doctors say its becouses he's so active he just burns it off so quickly he needs to refuel, my 23 year old was the same way he also has adhd he was on med's as a child something i am trying to avoid with my younger son.

Anonymous said...

I'm 26 y/o and was diagnosed with ADD when I was maybe 6. Coffee is good, but I'd recommend Yerba Maté as an even better substitute.

It is much cheaper than a good cup of coffee, gives you a much clearer buzz than normal coffee, and can be drunk cold or warm. You can buy the leaves in large kilo bags from South American markets or online and spend under $3 for a 2lbs. bag.

I sometimes mix the Maté leaves with Mint leaves or Cocoa powder and milk to give enough sweetness to the mix. Would think this is a much better choice for children, since Maté isn't caffeine but something like it