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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Could a caffeine test diagnose bipolar/ADHD?

11/10/2008

Question:

Ive heard by many people that caffeine in small doses helps people with ADHD concentrate better and improves attention as well as decreasing hyperactivity and impulsivness as it is like Ritalin, a stimulant.

But on the other hand giving caffeine to people in a Hypomanic/Manic Bipolar state tends to make them worse.

Is all this true?

If so, could a caffeine test be able to tell the doctors which disorder the person has?

Answer:

Hello and thank you for your question.

I'm afraid I'm not aware of any research supporting the ideas that small doses of caffeine can improve ADHD symptoms, trigger a hypomanic/manic state, or a caffeine diagnostic test.

However, I warn my clinical patients with bipolar disorder to be careful with any "drugs" - caffeine or otherwise. The only way doctors can tell "which disorder the person has" is by a comprehensive psychiatric assessment. Thank you and best wishes.

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nicholas   Lofthouse, PhD Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University