Do you have caffeine use disorder?

Do you have caffeine use disorder?

Are you dependent on caffeine to the point that you suffer withdrawal symptoms if you don’t have your morning or mid-afternoon fix? You may have caffeine use disorder.

“I’m a zombie without my morning coffee.” “My blood type is Diet Coke.” “Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin.”

Most people make jokes like these about needing a daily boost from their favourite caffeinated beverage – whether first thing in the morning or to prevent the after-lunch slump.

But a recent study co-authored by American University psychology professor Laura Juliano indicates that more people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms and are unable to reduce caffeine consumption even if they have another condition that may be impacted by caffeine – such as a pregnancy, a heart condition, or a bleeding disorder.

These symptoms combined are a condition called “Caffeine Use Disorder”.

And according to the study, even though caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world – and is found in everything from coffee, tea, and soda, to OTC pain relievers, chocolate, and now a whole host of food and beverage products branded with some form of the word “energy” – health professionals have been slow to characterise problematic caffeine use and acknowledge that some cases may call for treatment.

“The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognised as such because it is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines,” Juliano said.

“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, which are signs of problematic use.”

 

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