Is caffeine actually addictive?
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.