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Adult ADHD & Caffeine

By Danielle Hall ; Updated August 14, 2017

Adult ADHD is characterized by low alertness, the inability to concentrate and organize, and poor memory. If you are an adult with ADHD, you may want to consider caffeine. It is a stimulant that has been shown to help improve some of the symptoms related to the disorder. However, consult with your doctor before trying to prevent, treat or cure ADHD with caffeine.


Pharmaceutical treatments for ADHD tend to have poor compliance rates, therefore leaving adults with ADHD with residual symptoms, according to an article published in April 2011 in “Medical Hypotheses.” Some opt for tea since it can help improve symptoms related to ADHD. For example, tea is a stimulant and can reduce fatigue, improve self-confidence, and boost motivation and alertness, as the authors explain.

Response Time

One aspect of ADHD is a slowed response time. Consuming caffeine may help remediate this symptom. A study published in March 2011 in “Psychological Assessment” found preliminary evidence that a group of young adults who consumed caffeine had improvements in reaction time. However, the researchers noted that these effects were observed in participants who consumed small amounts of caffeine.


ADHD is marked by memory and consequently learning problems that may be affected by caffeine. In scientific studies, coffee has been found to affect specific types of memory differently, according to an article published in February 2010 in the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Specifically, it has been found to facilitate working memory, or short-term memory. Yet, studies have found that it does not improve long-term memory, as the author mentions.


If you have ADHD, you should be aware that people with the disorder are more likely to have problems with stimulant addiction. Therefore, in trying to treat yourself, you may be more likely to drink excessive amounts of caffeine. Some people have been helped by a drug called modafinil, a non-stimulant drug used to promote alertness in patients with ADHD, according to a study published in June 2009 in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology.”

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