Caffeine Use Disorder: Turns Out It's a Thing

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With a Starbucks on every city street corner, Americans are well-aware of the fact that they like their coffee. With phrases like, "No coffee, no workey" and "I'm a zombie without my coffee" a part of the common vernacular, most Americans consume this socially accepted drug on a daily basis, be it through coffee, soda, or energy drinks. But a recent study released by Dr. Laura Juliano, a psychology professor who works at American University, suggests that caffeine addiction is no joke. In fact, Caffeine Use Disorder has been added to the DSM-5. The DSM-5 is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders in its newest and most up to date version. It is often used by mental health professionals to evaluate mental health disorders and dependencies. The American Psychiatric Association has stated that Caffein Use Disorder is a serious health concern; furthermore, it is in need of further study from the scientific community.

So what exactly does "Caffeine Use Disorder" consist of? According to Dr. Juliano, “There is misconception among professionals and lay people alike that caffeine is not difficult to give up. However, in population-based studies, more than 50 percent of regular caffeine consumers report that they have had difficulty quitting or reducing caffeine use.” The effects of attempting to "dry up" for those who are over-caffeinated on a regular basis? Irritability, fatigue, and headaches, just to name a few. Not to mention the effects of consuming too much caffeine at once, such as the jitters and a racing heartbeat.

So we are left to wonder, how much is too much? Dr. Juliano suggests limiting your daily caffeine intake to around 400 Mg per day. So what does that translate to in Starbucks terminology? One "Venti" sized coffee is a whopping 24oz, which would be the equivalent of about 400 Mg. That means that consumers who start their day with a Venti and then continue to drink caffeinated beverages or eat caffeinated foods, such as chocolate, are consuming more than the recommended daily dose of caffeine.

But regulating your caffeine intake isn't easy. "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," Says Dr. Juliano. Without proper labeling, it is difficult for those who are attempting to limit their caffeine intake, such as pregnant women, to truly understand how much caffeine they are consuming.

While Starbucks and soda companies are thriving thanks to the widespread consumption of the world's most popular drug, be sure to ask yourself if it's at your own expense.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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