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Try this with your ADHD kids! It works!!!
Old 10-04-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. We all get kids with signs of ADHD it seems, and of course parents are reluctant to put them on Ritalin (can't say that I blame them, but these kids need help). Well, a sp ed person in my district told me to speak to the parents and have them try giving the kids some caffeine in the morning - either coffee or Coke/Pepsi.

Well, what a difference!!! This kid is like a totally different person - helpful, focussed, hardworking, QUIET! We noticed the difference in behaviour within the first hour at school, confirmed with mom that she had tried the soda, and the effects have continued.

It may not work for all kids (what does, really?), but as a parent I know I would feel much more at ease trying to help my child with soda, rather than meds.

What do you think?


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I've heard that too!
Old 10-04-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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In my mental health issues class last semester my professor told us that! Something about the caffeine and the neurotransmitters or something! I haven't suggested it, but may at some point!
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Old 10-04-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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I actually heard that years ago at training for day camp. Something to do with how ADHD kids' metabolism works. Most ADHD drugs are actually stimulants (which is why they are sometimes illegally used as "uppers").

I didn't realize caffeine would help for the whole day; we were told it could be helpful if the kids aren't able to get their meds on time, or if they're getting close to the next dose and are starting to get agitated or antsy.
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Caffeine and ADHD
Old 10-04-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Years ago, when I was in high school (and I'm 52) my nephew was diagnosed as hyperactive. I don't think they called it ADHD yet. The doctor told my sister-in-law to give him caffeine. She thought she could see some difference. Then reports started coming out that said caffeine didn't help and they should have ritalin. I say, if it works, use it.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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I have seen this work, but not long term.


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Old 10-06-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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How much do they drink? What do the pediatricians say about this? I have a particular student in mind that I'd like to try it with.
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It's the REAL thing!
Old 10-06-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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I used to work in the mental health field. It was a widely accepted belief: caffeine DOES calm those who are hyperactive; it simply works in a reverse manner on kids, as compared to us adults.

In fact, when parents were wondering if their child should be diagnosed with ADHD ~ the common suggestion was to give the child a little coffee and see how it affected him/her.

If it calmed him/her down, parents would be encouraged to pursue further treatment.

I don't think pop was ever recommended. I don't know why ~ maybe there was a concern that the sugar or the prospect of a "treat" might curtail the desired effect of calming them.

It's an interesting thought. I wonder what would happen if teachers were to start suggesting this?

Good luck with this one!

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Mom's dirty little secret!!
Old 10-06-2007, 05:05 PM
 
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Mt. Dew has the highest level of caffeine of all the sodas. Diet Mt. Dew is better due to no sugar. Children who are truly ADHD experience a paradoxical effect from stimulant meds, and caffeine is nothing but a "socailly acceptable" stimulant!
As little as 1/2 cup helps. In general, though the effects tend to wear off in about 45 minutes or so...
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Apparently
Old 10-06-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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it does not work on all of them--soda, that is, not coffee--I had a little boy last year with all the signs but not yet diagnosed--I tried Mtn. Dew, diet Mtn. Dew and Diet Dr. Pepper and saw NO change even for 45 minutes. This year, he has been officially diagnosed but none of the medications have worked so far either. The parents and doctor are still changing up the meds and dosages trying to find his best fit.
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Old 10-14-2007, 05:17 AM
 
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As the parent of an ADHD child, I have done hours of study on the subject. This is what I have read about caffeine:

As someone else said, it can be used as an indicator that a child may have adhd. The testing that was done on caffeine showed that the amounts needed to effect the brain for adhd would have too high of adverse side effects.

But, it if worked, I would use it! I have told friends to try it as a test. (if it works, I would think that the child has a mild case) ????



Last edited by teachntx; 10-14-2007 at 05:23 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-14-2007, 05:21 AM
 
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oh, ps.

You have to be careful with diet drinks too. Some people are sensitive to artificial sweetners. My dd gets extreme migranes from Nutrasweet. I didn't even know that little kids got migranes until that happened. She was extremely ill from Sugar Free lemonade.
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careful
Old 10-14-2007, 07:57 AM
 
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As teachers, I don't think we can "give" students a caffeine jolt without it possibly coming back to hurt us. I wouldn't suggest giving students caffeine for their ADHD since it is considered a drug. I wouldn't put myself in this situation. I have been off of caffeine for years because it was causing me to have health problems. Teachers shouldn't risk their careers by doing this IMO.

Here's some info on how caffeine affects people:




Caffeine, Stress and Your Health: Is Caffeine Your Friend or Your Foe?

From Elizabeth Scott, M.S.,
Your Guide to Stress Management.

About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by Steven Gans, M.D.
Caffeine is a drug, popularly consumed in coffee, tea, soft drinks and, in smaller doses, chocolate. While we seem to have a love affair with these products, there’s been quite a bit of confusion and even controversy surrounding caffeine lately. Is it good or bad for us? Here’s a brief tutorial on caffeine, and some surprising answers to these questions.

Effects on the Body:

* Hormones- You can feel the effects of caffeine in your system within a few minutes of ingesting it, and it stays on your system for many hours—it has a half-life of four to six hours in your body. While in your body, caffeine affects the following hormones:
* Adenosine- Can inhibit absorption of adenosine, which calms the body, which can make you feel alert in the short run, but can cause sleep problems later.

(More on this below.)
* Adrenaline- Caffeine injects adrenaline into your system, giving you a temporary boost, but possibly making you fatigued and depressed later. If you take more caffeine to counteract these effects, you end up spending the day in an agitated state, and might find yourself jumpy and edgy by night.
* Cortisol- Can increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease and diabetes.
* Dopamine- Caffeine increases dopamine levels in your system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good after taking it, but after it wears off you can feel ‘low’. It can also lead to a physical dependence because of dopamine manipulation.
These changes caffeine makes in your physiology can have both positive and negative consequences:

* Sleep Caffeine can affect your sleep by keeping you awake longer, thereby shortening the amount of sleep you get, and giving you less time in the restorative stages of sleep, which takes a toll on your level of alertness the next day and overall health.

Interestingly, though, caffeine doesn’t affect the stages of sleep the way other stimulants do, so it’s a better choice than speed or other ‘uppers’ to use if you need to stay awake.
* Weight Many experts believe that increased levels of cortisol lead to stronger cravings for fat and carbohydrates, and cause the body to store fat in the abdomen. (Abdominal fat carries with it greater health risks than other types of fat.) Also, if increased cortisol levels lead to stronger cravings for caffeine-laden foods, the body goes into a cycle that leads only to worse health.

The good news, though, is that caffeine can speed up metabolism. Also, it can help the body break down fat about 30% more efficiently if consumed prior to exercise. (You must be exercising to get this benefit, though.) Additionally, caffeine can keep blood sugar levels elevated, leaving you feeling less hungry.
* Exercise If caffeine elevates levels of cortisol and other hormones for a temporary boost, after caffeine wears off, the body can feel fatigued and feelings of mild to moderate depression can set in. This can make physical activity more difficult.

On the positive side, caffeine has been found to enhance physical performance and endurance if it isn’t overused. This, combined with its effect of fat burning during exercise, can actually enhance workouts and enable you to get in better shape if you take it at the right time.


Caffeine and Stress

Because caffeine and stress can both elevate cortisol levels, high amounts of caffeine (or stress) can lead to the negative health effects associated with prolonged elevated levels of cortisol (which you can read about here). If you ingest high levels of caffeine, you may feel your mood soar and plummet, leaving you craving more caffeine to make it soar again, causing you to lose sleep, suffer health consequences and, of course, feel more stress. However, small to moderate amounts of caffeine can lift your mood and give you a boost.

The Verdict on Caffeine

With potential negative and positive health consequences, caffeine can be your friend, but in controlled doses. Here’s what you should remember about caffeine:


* Don’t Take Too Much Because of the health risks (above) associated with higher levels of caffeine, as well as the risk of physical dependence that can come with four cups of coffee or more each day, it’s wise to limit your caffeine intake. (Withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, headache, fatigue and muscle pain.)
* No Caffeine After 2pm Because sleep is important to proper physical functioning, and caffeine can stay in your system for 8 hours or longer, you should cut off or limit your caffeine intake to the first part of the day to ensure that your sleep isn’t disrupted.
* Enjoy Caffeine With Physical Activity Caffeine is best ingested before exercise—that way your performance is enhanced and the stress-management benefits of exercise can keep you healthy and feeling less stressed throughout the day.
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what I've seen
Old 10-14-2007, 08:16 AM
 
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My son is ADD. My husband is very, very opposed to meds, so he has had none. Now he's 16 and has been drinking diet coke for years. I think it does help, and I've said to friends he's self-medicating. Here's my experience:

My son is now addicted to diet coke and it's a problem. I mentioned the diet coke as self-medication to his pediatrician and he didn't buy it. I wouldn't recommend the caffeine route to my student's parents because if problems do present themselves, they may look back to you as responsible.

My son is 1 1/2 years away from adulthood, and I've told him he has every right to see his physician for ADD medication if he chooses to then. Please don't advise me on ways to convince my husband to choose meds. This is an argument I won't win with him.
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