Physicians randomly recommend increasing a child's caffeine intake in a regular day via a caffeinated drink like soda or, perhaps an energy drink. This recommendation usually comes over increasing a child's stimulant prescription dosage.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics hasn't issued a statement on ADHD, caffeine and small children, certain segments of the medical community disagree with coffee for children. Yet, parents of children with ADHD deal with temper tantrums, racing thoughts, racing children, self-inflicted injury and a host of other bizarre behaviors that can be reduced with stimulants. Most ADHD children take their medication in the morning.
Even with a morning dose, by afternoon many adhd kids are up and at it again. For many parents, increased doses of the usual prescription meds are not the antidote. Doctors may recommend caffeinated drinks, soda or energy drinks in the afternoon to curb a child's afternoon ADHD relapse. However, sodas activate an already hyper child's bladder creating more problems in the classroom and at home with keeping still and focused during sustained periods. Moreover, caffeinated drinks with their starchy corn syrups are hazardous on a growing child's teeth.
The stimulants in coffee, the choice drink of Americans in the morning, many who swear by it, are similar to those found in Ritalin. Adderall, Strattera, Concerta are all medicines, all stimulants, prescribed to children of ADHD.
When "The Stir" blogger, Christine Haskell revealed that she gives her ADHD second grader coffee each morning before school, she was invited by ABC Morning News to share her story. Did Haskell reveal a secret that ADHD parents into alternative therapy have had for a while?
Some doctors are cautioning against coffee in children. In fact, one doctor went as far as to suggest that children who have "real, bonafide" cases of ADHD won't find treatment, cure or therapy with caffeine. Doctors also say that caffeine can lead to other side effects like higher blood pressure, increased heart rates, and headaches.
But here's the thing: like any drug, if high blood pressure, headaches (chronic or otherwise) and heart conditions and ailments are hereditary, naturally a parent would think twice about supplying an alternative stimulant like coffee to treat ADHD behaviors.
But for the most part, the resistance to coffee sounds like adults are uncomfortable with some children doing grown-up things. Even if it works.
Furthermore, just as no two autistic children are completely alike just because they've been diagnosed with autism, no two ADHD children are bound to have the exact same behaviors or the exact same reaction to stimulant meds. Many, many children clearly suffering with ADHD symptoms do not have positive reactions to the leading ADHD medicinal options like Ritalin and Adderall.
More than likely, Haskell's reveal that her son performs satisfactorily, if not excellently with a cup of coffee each morning, just like many adults, is perhaps, a secret jumped out of the bag for many parents of ADHD children.
It doesn't take a medical degree to understand and calculate the odds and the risks of coffee over soda to reduce ADHD symptoms. The minute a physician suggests that a caffeinated, albeit unhealthy drink like soda, may alleviate a child's symptoms most parents logically consider coffee, whether they reveal it to the physician or not.
At the end of the day, parents of ADHD children want their child in school a full day without interruption. An alternative treatment like coffee, used by more than millions around the world each day, logically renders a viable option that benefits certain affected children, their classmates, teachers and parents.