The Cola/Coke Bottle Effect¬†is a term that has most frequently been associated with neurodivergent children, though there’s no reason at all why it cannot be applied accurately to neurodivergents of all ages.

The analogy is a simple one: Imagine carrying a bottle of cola, or any fizzy drink, around with you all day, whatever you’re doing. There it is jostling around, and with each additional activity, it’s becoming more and more fizzed up inside… and we all know the consequence of opening a bottle or can of something fizzy without allowing it time to settle again? It’s EXPLOSIVE!

This scenario is used as a straightforward way to explain what happens when a neurodivergent person has been facing challenge after challenge throughout their day. Each challenge increases that pressure, adding to the tension and stress. BUT because so many of us are masking our way through multiple situations (that’ll be the bottle cap) there is no way to release that build up.

Consequently, when we finally return to the safety of our home environment, often containing our closest people, we can whip off that lid and release all that pressure. Out spews all of that frustration, trauma, anger, exhaustion (the list is a long one). This pressure build up could just as easily be aimed at our personal belongings and furniture (read Fern Brady’s Strong Female Character) as an entertaining and brutal example of this – spoiler alert – she’s spent a lot of time at DIY stores over the years!

This is how so many neurodivergent children can go unidentified for their whole school lives, and can even be described by teachers as behaving like model pupils, only to go home and have the mother of all meltdowns! The same is true for adults, of course.

So there we have it. There are loads of sites out there that go into much greater detail if you Google something along the lines of Coke/Soda/Cola Bottle Effect – ADHD/autism.