Caffeine Use Disorder: It's a Thing

Lacy LangleyLife

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Coffee addicts, listen up! Caffeine has now been categorized as a drug in the DSM-5. Need help quitting? That may be coming soon, according to Yahoo.

“Caffeine is a drug, a mild stimulant which is used by almost everybody on a daily basis,” said Charles O’Brien, chair of the Substance-Related Disorders Work Group. “Normally, there’s no problem with that. But it does have a letdown afterwards,” he added. “If you drink a lot of coffee, usually two or three cups at a time, there will be a rebound or withdrawal effect.”

In a new study from researchers at American University in Washington, D.C., it is found that drinking several cups of coffee each day can become habit-forming, and when a person tries to quit, they can experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches and fatigue. If you've ever tried to quit, as I have, you might agree there is also a good amount of crankiness.

"The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognized as such because it is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines," said the study's co-author and American University psychology professor Laura Juliano, reported by Post Media News. "And while many people can consume caffeine without harm, for some it produces negative effects, physical dependence, interferes with daily functioning, and can be difficult to give up."

This new study could possibly result in greater clarity in labeling of products containing caffeine and the amounts they contain, according to Juliano.

"At this time, manufacturers are not required to label caffeine amounts, and some products such as energy drinks do not have regulated limits on caffeine," Juliano said. "Through our research, we have observed that people who have been unable to quit or cut back on caffeine on their own would be interested in receiving formal treatment — similar to the outside assistance people can turn to if they want to quit smoking or tobacco use."

It would be interesting to see what some of those treatments would be. It is a fairly hard habit to kick, but if you can't, you should at least try to reduce your intake to 2-3 8oz. cups of coffee per day (or 400 mg caffeine) to avoid withdrawal symptoms, according to Juliano.

Image via wikimedia commons

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.