Effect of Caffeine on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed and treated mental disorder during childhood and it is increasingly diagnosed and treated during adulthood.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity, persisting no less than six months, that is inconsistent with developmental level and has a negative impact in at least two settings (academic, occupational or social). 

Due to the medication’s controversial side effects and high rates of diagnosis, other therapeutic approaches for ADHD are needed. Some studies have shown the potential effects of caffeine consumption on ADHD treatment over the last years. 

In a recent review published study, researchers from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, suggest that caffeine could effectively counter attention, learning, and memory deficits in animal models of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

Study Results and Conclusions

Caffeine differs from other stimulants in its mechanism of action and could provide an alternative therapy to the ones currently used. The study evaluated a total of 13 animal studies and found that caffeine treatment reduced deficits in attention and other cognitive functions observed in ADHD. 

The treatment with caffeine improved olfactory discrimination, attention, memory retention, learning, short-term memory, and working memory in adolescent and adult animals with ADHD-like symptoms. 

The researchers also found that caffeine increased the levels of dopamine and serotonin, which are normally lower in patients with ADHD. 

Dr. Mark Stein, the director of the ADHD and Related Disorders Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital, told MNT: “Studies in humans suggest on average a mild beneficial effect of caffeine on ADHD symptoms, with large variability in response, time course, and tolerability problems such as poor sleep.”

He also pointed out that most individuals with ADHD required “more intensive and potent interventions.”


Javier C. Vazquez, et al. Effects of Caffeine Consumption on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Treatment: A Systematic Review of Animal Studies. 2022. Nutrients. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14040739 

Deep Shykla. (2022, Apr 8). Caffeine could help treat attention and memory symptoms in ADHD. Medical News Today. Retrieved from:

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