How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you? - Forums at Psych Central


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Old 06-23-2018, 02:24 PM #1
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Default How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

I've heard that for people who have ADHD, caffeine doesn't affect them like it would for a person without ADHD. The doctor who did my assessment and diagnosis asked me if caffeine kept me up at night. I told him I didn't know because I couldn't remember a time when I drank caffeine at night/before sleeping. He told me that because I have ADHD, caffeine wouldn't keep me up at night.

Now, sometimes, in the past (before I was diagnosed with ADHD), I've had caffeine and got "the shakes" (felt jittery and whatnot). I was never really a regular coffee-drinker, so I wasn't ever dependent on it. Anyway, more recently, since my diagnosis, I've tried having caffeine to see if it would really make me jittery or if it would help me focus more and be calmer, thinking that maybe before my diagnosis I only felt jittery because of the placebo affect. And my results have been this: At first it did seem to help me focus more at work. But again, I was kind of expecting that, given my diagnosis of ADHD, caffeine would calm me down and help me focus as opposed to get shaky and whatnot. So maybe this was placebo effect again? But a couple days ago, I took my first ever red-eye flight. Didn't sleep on the planes and was getting tired so I had a couple cups of coffee during the 36 straight hours that I was awake. I managed to stay awake, but of course I was still exhausted as time went on. But after my last cup of coffee around my 32nd hour of no sleep, then I started to get really jittery and anxious and people could tell. I wasn't falling sleep then though (until a couple hours later when I finally did "crash").

But anyway, long story short, what is the truth about how caffeine affects a person with ADHD? I've read mixed things online. Does caffeine keep you awake and hyper-alert? Or does it have the opposite affect and calm you down? I feel like I've experienced both of those effects, but maybe as a result of the placebo effect.

***Also of note, I have the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD. Sometimes I've felt that I've had some hyperactive symptoms, but the inattention is the biggest struggle for me. Do you think the effects of caffeine varies for people with different sub-types of ADHD?

***And lastly, I take Focalin and it does help me focus and doesn't make me feel like "high" or anything. Granted, it is a very small dose. I also don't experience a "crash" from this stimulant.
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Old 06-25-2018, 01:23 PM #2
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

I have ADD and take Metadate CD. The Metadate CD doesn't make me feel "high" and has a "crash". When I don't take it, I have caffeine. Caffeine helps me focus and can keep me from sleeping.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:43 AM #3
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

Caffeine doesn't affect me. I can drink coffee at night and still go to sleep and I don't take sleep meds. I would like to be on Adderall but my PA hesitates bc I also have Bipolar and he's afraid I'll get manic.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:58 PM #4
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

I just recently got diagnosed with ADD. I'm 45 and have started every day since I was twelve with a liter of coffee (like the whole 8 cup French Press) lately I've been having eight shots of espresso in the morning. Keeps me calm and helps me focus and doesn't appear to interfere with my sleep.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:11 AM #5
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

Caffeine helped me, once. Now I've gotten used to it. BUT if I don't drink my coffee, I can't work, because my brain uses it as an excuse to slip away. How do I know it's just an excuse? When it's time for sleep, no amounts of caffeine will keep me awake anymore!

Lately, I've found that the energy drink "hell" helps me. I rarely drink it, though, because I don't want to get used to it, too. But it's probably one of the few things containing sugar that boost me instead of turning me full ADD.

Are there any other good, easy-to-get stimulants around?
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Old 08-21-2018, 03:19 PM #6
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

Ive always bragged about how caffeine does nothing for me. I can go right to sleep. Another clue that I have adhd along with the bipolar I guess.
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:01 AM #7
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

I don't take medications for my ADHD, I control it enough on my own. Caffeine makes it harder to control but not impossible, if I have too much I can no longer control it and become overly fidgety and rambunctious. I drink coffee daily.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:46 PM #8
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

I just get the shakes. Never been a caffeine drinker. I used to chew no-doz and could still sleep, I'd just wake up with major headaches.
Caffeine is a diuretic which I believe leaves me feeling dehydrated (my own personal theory) so aside from the stimulant effect I believe the side-effects get in the way of it being useful for my add.
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Old 09-26-2018, 05:05 PM #9
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

I'm quite sensitive to caffeine... I have to be especially careful with it because too much can exacerbate my anxiety.

I think it's absurd that the doctor made such a blanket statement and said it won't keep you up because you have adhd.

Yes, it is true, it may help calm and focus some people with adhd. But there are a lot of factors. I know lots of people who are not kept up by caffeine, and lots of people who are.

It depends so much on the individual, comorbidity, etc. Any doctor who makes a blanket statement like that would make me uncomfortable, personally.
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:59 AM #10
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Default Re: How does caffeine (or other stimulants) REALLY affect you?

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Originally Posted by alilgoat View Post
I don't take medications for my ADHD, I control it enough on my own. Caffeine makes it harder to control but not impossible, if I have too much I can no longer control it and become overly fidgety and rambunctious. I drink coffee daily.
Although I used to think the same way, and I had a fear of medication, I was proven very wrong when untreated ADHD tore my entire life down.

Once I got on medication, it was like getting glasses for poor vision, bringing my mind into a semblance of focus and calm I never had before. I could actually do prolong stints of work or keep myself listening and not interrupting as bad, ect. Those coping tools we use before medication only go so far. But tack meds with them, and you can do pretty good. The medication is safe for the majority of us and I would recommend considering trying it. Most ADHDers do not become addicted to stimulants or have the other negative side-effects. Our brains are physiologically different.

To answer the OP, coffee didn't ever affect me until a drank a ton of it and then I got the shakes a little bit. I could drink coffee and sleep. Coffee actually soothed me too. Stimulants are similar but much more steady and don't put you in the bathroom like coffee can.

With that said, I agree with Llama Llama 44, it depends on your comorbid traits. If you have anxiety or are manic, caffeine is probably going to adversely react with those traits still.
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