Chocolate + ADHD: Chocolate to the Rescue?

Emotional dysregulation, especially with ADHD, can feel like a Dementor’s Kiss.  

According to a Harry Potter fan wiki:

“The mood-enhancing properties of chocolate are well known in both the Muggle and wizard worlds. Chocolate is the perfect antidote for anyone who has been overcome in the presence of Dementors, which suck hope and happiness out of their surroundings.”

Was JK Rowling on to something? Can chocolate really help in moments of sadness?


Chocolate has been used medicinally over the centuries starting with Mesoamerican civilizations and by many other cultures. People associate euphoria and romantic interest with chocolate. Maybe this is because chocolate contains hundreds of natural chemicals and many of them can influence the brain and mood. Some of the compounds in chocolate quicken the heart, increase alertness, and even cause us to release neurotransmitters.

 

Rewarding

Love

Good mood

Connection

Energy

Attention

Bliss

Comfortable

 

The brain craves many of the compounds naturally found in chocolate, and low amounts of these molecules can be a big component in the ability to regulate emotions.  For ADHD brains and during hormonal changes, these compounds can drop off significantly in the brain and body. This can prime the nervous system for ADHD meltdowns and even PMS.

The brain craves many of the compounds naturally found in chocolate

Not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to helping boost these compounds in our brains and bodies.  It’s important to avoid sweet chocolates that spike blood sugar, or there will be an even bigger crash later.  We also need to manage impulse control and consume healthy portions.

Look for low sugar, high cacao content chocolate.  The nutritional value may include significant amounts of fiber, iron or magnesium. If the chocolate contains more proteins, the body may digest it slower, and the release of compounds may last longer. Compassion has proven positive impact on the brain and emotional regulation, so try fair trade or organic chocolate.

Sharing chocolate will usually add to these positive results by boosting oxytocin even further.

Chocolate may or may not contain clinically significant amounts of these compounds, and some feel that the science of chocolate as medicine is ‘iffy.’  However, if chocolate is low sugar, consumed in reasonable quantities, promotes self-awareness check-ins, and helps us to take a breath when we are stressed out, that’s going to have a positive impact!  

Sharing chocolate will usually add to these positive results by boosting oxytocin even further.

There’s one more piece of wisdom from the wizarding world wiki that we wanted to share:

“Chocolate can only be a short-term remedy, however. Finding ways to fight off Dementors — or depression — are essential if one is to become permanently happier. Excessive chocolate consumption cannot benefit either Muggle or wizard.”