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Updated 09/2022

Caffeine (an example of our content)

a coffee cup

Caffeine is a drug contained coffee, tea, and many soft drinks.

It may be that you found it one of the few things that helped before getting treated for ADHD, but things change with treatment.

You may have problems as a result of using caffeine alongside most ADHD treatments such as racing heart, raised anxiety and dehydration.

  1. Caffeine is a stimulant drug that will give a brief boost to concentration if you have ADHD.​​​​ You may have used it, because it is a stimulant, to treat your symptoms even before you knew that's what they were.

  2. Caffeine is physically addictive. If you abruptly stop using caffeine you will experience withdrawal effects including headaches and generally feeling unwell. This will last no more than a few days.

  3. Anxiety can be made worse with caffeine. As a stimulant caffeine will raise your heart rate and levels of alertness and this can feel like anxiety. Using caffeine can lead to anxiety worsening because of this. It also can impact on your sleep so things just get worse.

  4. Combining caffeine with ADHD medication can increase side effects. As most people use stimulant medications for ADHD, taking another one complicates the side effects of both drugs. You may find that your side effects form medication are made worse by using caffeine at the same time as your ADHD medications.

  5. Caffeine makes you go to the toilet more. Caffeine is a diuretic - this means that using it tells your body to get rid of more water than it ordinarily would. Aside form leaving you potentially dehydrated this can itself reduce how effective your medications can be and leave you feeling tired and unmotivated.

  6. Energy drinks have high doses of caffeine. This is perhaps why they are popular with people with undiagnosed ADHD who feel like they have founds something that helps. Your medication is much better targetted at the issue so it is worth thinking again about using these. they are probably doing more harm than good if you are also taking prescribed treatments.

Our advice

We aren't saying don't enjoy a cup of tea or coffee from time to time but please do be mindful of the stimulant content. It will aggravate any anxiety when combined with ADHD medications, and put your heart rate up too. If this is happening it may be wise to cut down your caffeine intake.


Some people can tolerate a cup of coffee in the morning before their medication starts working, but keep in mind it takes your body time to clear the drug out, long after the effects feel like they have worn off the drug is still interacting with your medications.

We do advise against using energy drinks at all on days that you take medication for ADHD.

When trying to stop using caffeine always reduce the amount you have bit by bit to avoid the withdrawal effects.

For further information

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