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Is caffeine actually addictive?

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Amari Huel
December 02, 2019 10:51PM

While not all health organizations consider caffeine addiction a clinical disorder, here’s the answer you’re probably looking for: Yes, you can form a dependence on caffeine. Quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, depressed mood, and difficulty concentrating.

Addiction is a powerful word, though, and thus, some experts are hesitant to put a dependence on caffeine—which doesn’t tend to drastically affect users’ lives—in the same category as other drug addictions.

The American Psychiatric Association doesn’t yet consider caffeine dependence a substance use disorder—in 2013, they listed caffeine use disorder as a “condition for further study” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The World Health Organization, meanwhile, officially lists caffeine dependence syndrome as a mental disorder in the tenth revision of their International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10). The ICD-10 is primarily used internationally; the DSM-5 is primarily used in the United States.

You’re here, though—you’ve probably seen how hooked people get and how listless they are without it—so disagreements between health organizations aside, yes, you can grow dependent on caffeine, and quitting is quite unpleasant.

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Channel Managment
December 07, 2019 9:04AM
Caffeine myth or caffeine fact? It's not always easy to know. Chances are you have some real misperceptions about caffeine. For starters, do you know the most common sources of caffeine? Well, maybe two of the sources aren't too hard to name -- coffee and tea leaves. But did you know kola nuts and cocoa beans are also included among the most common caffeine sources? And do you know how much caffeine content can vary from food to food? Turns out it's quite a lot actually, depending on the type and serving size of a food or beverage and how it's prepared. Caffeine content can range from as much as 160 milligrams in some energy drinks to as little as 4 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving of chocolate-flavored syrup. Even decaffeinated coffee isn't completely free of caffeine. Caffeine is also present in some over-the-counter pain relievers, cold medications, and diet pills. These products can contain as little as 16 milligrams or as much as 200 milligrams of caffeine. In fact, caffeine itself is a mild painkiller and increases the effectiveness of other pain relievers. Want to know more? Read on. WebMD has examined some of the most common myths about caffeine and gathered the facts to shed some light on those myths. This one has some truth to it, depending on what you mean by "addictive." Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn't threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do. (Although after seeing your monthly spending at the coffee shop, you might disagree!) If you stop taking caffeine abruptly, you may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if you consume two or more cups of coffee a day. Symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine include: headache fatigue anxiety irritability depressed mood difficulty concentrating No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause the severity of withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors as street drugs or alcohol. For this reason, experts do not consider caffeine dependence an?addiction.
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