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Child fights ADHD with cup of coffee

By Kathleen Blanchard     Sep 8, 2011 in Health
Rather than turning to drugs to treat symptoms of ADHD– attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – a second grader is being treated by his mom with a daily dose of coffee.
The child, Rowan Haskell, drinks two 4 ounce cups a day, and according to the boy’s mom, the coffee remedy works just fine to keep him calm and focused.
Drugs that are used to treat ADHD include Ritalin and Adderral. Each is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system, as is coffee.
Rather than turning to medications that have side effects, his mom, Christie, decided to explore other options for her son.
Coffee is an alternative therapy that may or may not work for treating ADHD, but most experts disagree with using caffeine in children.
Symptoms of the disorder include difficulty focusing, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. The condition can interfere with learning and development, making it
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2007, 5.4 million children, ages 4 to 17 were reported to have the condition. Among those, nearly half had mild ADHD.
Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Health and Geriatric Psychologist) says some of the basic symptoms of ADHD include “… inability to pay close attention to details, sustaining attention, listening when spoken to, lack of follow through.”
Christie Haskell says a cup of coffee alleviates those symptoms for her son.
"He doesn't overreact if we ask him to pick up Legos, rather than screaming and throwing himself on the floor," Haskell told ABC. "And if we ask him to sit down and do homework, he can actually do it."
Experts from ABC say evidence is lacking that coffee or other caffeinated beverages can cure ADHD and they warn of side effects such as headache and high blood pressure in children – side effects that also accompany drugs like Ritalin.
Drug free treatment for ADHD includes behavioral therapy, which includes following a strict schedule, keeping everyday items organized and rewarding good behavior, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The evidence that caffeine treats ADHD is anecdotal so far. Researchers suggest the effect can wear off after time as tolerance to caffeine develops.
A 2005 study showed caffeine helped rats with learning deficits make it through a maze. The finding was published in “The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.”
Rowan Haskell’s mom Christie writes for “the Stir”. She admits giving her son coffee for ADHD isn’t exactly what the doctors ordered.
Haskell claims “a lot of moms, in growing numbers, are starting to see really positive results with just a little cup of Joe for our kids. Some moms use little, low milligram caffeine tablets, especially for kids who hate the taste of coffee.”
Haskell writes that her son’s calmness after drinking coffee is enough proof for her that it’s the right choice. The second grader also hasn’t been officially diagnosed with the disorder. Coffee remains a controversial treatment for treating attention deficit disorders, but for the seven-year old, his mom says a daily cup of coffee works to fight ADHD.
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