Caffeine and ADHD

I’ve noticed a theme in a number of posts indicating that people with ADHD may use caffeine to self medicate. I definitely feel like that was the case prior to being on stimulants.

My question is, though, do people who are now on stimulants still find that they consume a lot of caffeine? I thought my caffeine intake would decrease a little once I was on a stimulant, but I find that I end up still using in high amounts. I’m not sure if I’m still self medicating, or if it’s just to the point of routine or addiction.

I don’t have any problems or concerns related to my caffeine use. I stop caffeine early enough in the day so as to not effect my sleep. I do just get curious, though, if other people on medication have noticed any change in their caffeine use since being on meds.

For those of you not on meds, do you use caffeine to self medicate? What types of caffeine do you use?

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Yes.

A lot.
I think my wife and I did the math and on high use days it was in the order of 80-90 plus oz of coffee…
I don’t have a problem. I can stop anytime I want to.
… I just don’t want to.

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I usually avoid coffee when I’m on stimulants because it gives me anxiety and makes my heart race. Although a cup in the morning calms me down before I take my meds.

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Was literally just looking this up!

I dont think my caffeine usage either increases or decreases usually because I LOVE the taste of coffee - I did recently find an amazing decaf coffee so that has made me decrease my need for caffeine a little lately…

I wonder whether it has to do with the different neurotransmitters affected by each substance (dopamine vs adenosine) and that they do slightly different things - I know that for me personally, stimulants don’t make me any less tired, so sometimes I will take them to help me focus and then take coffee to help me stay awake (if I’ve slept well then I usually dont feel the need)

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That too :joy:

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I do not take stimulant medication. However I do drink 32 ounces of regular coffee each day. Frankly I do not notice a difference at all. The caffeine does not bother me at all, keep me awake, or seem to help my ADHD symptoms to any noticeable extent. Perhaps it does brighten me up a bit, but again no noticeable effect.

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Yeah, stimulants do not help me with feeling less tired either. I can actually nap pretty easily on my Vyvanse. I still need coffee to get going and at times for lulls in the day.

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In the past prior to the diagnosis I felt like caffeine gave me focus and energy to get things done. It was always so short lived, though, so I had to constantly keep drinking throughout the day. I found that I could even drink right before bed and still sleep soundly. In retrospect I wonder how much of an impact it had on my symptoms and maybe if it impacted why I didn’t get a diagnosis until later in life.

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… Seriously? I have always taken forever to fall asleep, nap or at night, and if I sleep it is for two hours, and no matter what, I am supper groggy after. (Note, I have sleep apnea, so… might be related)
Now that I am on meds, I will have to try a nap again. I’ve avoided them for years since they don’t seem to help.

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Yep. The first two days I was on Vyvanse I had trouble sleeping, but since then it’s been totally fine. I can take naps any time during the day. My biggest problem with sleep is at night when the medication wears off and my mind is running and running and I can’t seem to settle it down. That happens fairly often. So, in a way, Vyvanse helps me sleep. :slight_smile:

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What about before Vyvanse? Were you a napper and if so, did you wake up ok? Trying to figure out how likely my issues are with Sleep Apnea or something else.

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I wasn’t much of a napper before Vyvanse unless I was in periods of depression. Usually I was more of a night owl. I might get tired at work in the mid afternoon but I’d always get a surge of energy in the evening and have trouble falling asleep until midnight or later.

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Do I consume a lot of caffeine? Not regularly… will I drink coffee at every possible change presented to me?? Definitely :joy:
I haven’t really been drinking coffee lately since I’m worried it’ll mess up my meds ( I’m still figuring out dosage and whatnot ) but there was that one time I got really frustrated and couldn’t focus so I drank like a whole bunch at 1 am…

I was only drinking coffee before occasionally ( I drank other caffeinated stuff ) but I definitely still crave it :thinking:

( sidenote: i can’t believe I can actually answer stuff like this now because I have meds :laughing: )

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It’s amazing the difference meds can make for some people. I can’t believe how much clearer and more stable my brain is during the day on them. It has been life changing, and I tell my providers that all the time.

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It has changed my life. I’ve just had a screw-up with my prescription and had to go the weekend without Vyvanse. I was a different person - my wife noticed it seemed like I was disconnected from life. I didn’t accomplish very much, and it was a little terifying. I’m still waiting on word that my doc can fix the problem, but I had one capsule left for today.

It always seems unfair that when I have an issue with meds that needs my attention I have to solve the problem without the meds.

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I usually have about 12-16 oz of coffee in the morning, and maybe sometimes a cup in the afternoon. But if I have it too late, it will keep me up. I think that’s because I’m 54.

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So… we actually started hoarding some meds for this reason. I sometimes go on trips for work, and it somehow always ends up when I am about to run out of meds. So, I will sometimes skip weekends I am not on call, and save the meds in a seperate bottle. Monday is usally a bit rough as I re-acclimate, and the weekends SUUUUUCK, but… I have a reserve. Saved my bacon a few times. Going without really is not fun though. I get really irritable and “tired”.

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I am not on any meds at the moment, but I do drink copious amounts of caffeine in the form of cocoa and tea. I would drink coffee but sometimes it upsets my stomach. (Even though I LOVE coffee!!) That is the only thing that seems to work for me. I’m going to try replacing it with medication soon, soon as I can get in to see the doctor. The only reason I haven’t been on medication thus far is my own reluctance to take medication. So I’ve been self medicating for years with caffeine.

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Last autumn I thought I could replace my afternoon pill (dexamphetamine) with coffee on the days I needed it.

Eventually I realised this was a bad idea. It wasn’t working well enough, and I didn’t want to see that. Eventually after a few months I realised I was struggling more than I had been admitting to myself. I went back to taking the afternoon pill.

Caffeine definitely does something, but I was confusing the physical side effects of caffeine (increased pulse rate and jittery feeling) with actual improved alertness.

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Put a pinch of salt in your coffee. That, or brew with a leaf or two of chocolate mint (washed, mind you. No dirt please.)
Should help with the acidity and your stomach.

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