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My experience is that the caffeine in black tea is somehow milder than the caffeine in coffee. I normally have two huge strong mugs of tea per day, one with breakfast and one with lunch. Once in a while I have another huge strong mug at night, to mellow me out and help me sleep. Doesn't make any sense. I can't sleep with coffee, but I have no problems with tea. But I am definitely addicted, since after about 36 hours without tea I get a splitting headache that no amount of aspirin or ibuprofin will kill.

I've only recently started taking Ritalin, but I have 12 years of using tea as my only drug. My experience is that I get a feeling of peace and relaxation for a [U]short[/U] time after my huge strong mug. (Love the stuff, can you tell?). This is similar to the peace that comes over the chaos in my brain when I take Ritalin, but not as strong. The tea's effect isn't strong enough for me to feel that I can function without Ritalin.

BUT... children have more sensitive systems, and it can be that for some children the effects of tea (or even coffee for that matter) can be enough to produce a similar effect. With a lot of coaching and structure from home and school, it may be that caffeine could be a less risky choice for some children than the prescription drugs.

The key here is that it's still a drug, and it's addictive. The main addiction withdrawel symptom for me is a headache, and I understand that it goes away within 3 days for those who stick it out, but it's still hard to stop once you start.

I never did find out why my parents never let me have caffeine as a kid -- I still don't know what harm it's supposed to do to kids. But it's a wonderful relaxant for adults!

This is a good topic to bring up. We're trying to find things that will help kids so that they don't grow up so lost and chaotic as adults. I never got diagnosed, and I never got drugs (caffeine or otherwise), and I never got the coaching and structure that would have made a world of difference to me.

I know that coffee can be harsh on the stomach, although my husband swears that Arabica coffee beans are very mild and give him no problems at all. So if I had a kid who showed signs of ADD, I would be willing to try a measured amount of Arabica coffee or strong black tea to see if it had any calming effect -- measured as in: "you're allowed x number of x-sized cups of x-strength coffee or tea a day".

Does anyone else know why everyone gasps in horror when you talk about giving caffeine to a kid?

Caffeine combined with fish oil and an absence of sugar and white-flour junk food would be an interesting experiment. I wish I could have been a guinea pig for such an experiment!

Good topic for discussion, Jennita.


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