January 29, 2014
Researchers Say ‘Caffeine Use Disorder’ Is A Major Health Concern
[ Watch the Video: Caffeine Addiction Can Cause Withdrawals ]
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe OnlineSome people like to chalk up their regular caffeine use as a personality quirk, but a new research review has asserted that habitual use of the stimulant can actually be classified as a condition – Caffeine Use Disorder.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Caffeine Research, many people are reliant on caffeine to the point they experience withdrawal symptoms when they abstain from use and are unable to stop their caffeine intake even if they have a condition that calls for it —such as pregnancy, a heart condition, or a bleeding disorder.
"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 study author Laura Juliano, a psychology professor at American University. "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."
In their review, the scientists considered previously published caffeine research looking for biological proof of caffeine dependence, data that indicated how prevalent dependence is, and noteworthy physical or psychological symptoms experienced by habitual caffeine users.
The researchers concluded that healthy adults should limit caffeine usage to no greater than 400 mg per day, the same as about two to three cups of coffee. Expectant women should take in less than 200 mg per day and individuals who suffer from anxiety or insomnia as well as people who have high blood pressure, heart issues, or urinary incontinence should also reduce caffeine intake.
The team also discussed the diagnostic criteria for Caffeine Use Disorder and outline an agenda to help direct future caffeine dependence research.
"There is misconception among professionals and lay people alike that caffeine is not difficult to give up,” Juliano said. “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 study authors noted that, for many people, limiting caffeine intake can be difficult as most people don't actually know how much caffeine they drink daily.
"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, adding that people could perhaps better limit their consumption and avoid caffeine's negative effects with better labeling.
She noted that research in the review indicated there is a demand among caffeine users to cut back on their daily habit.
"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,” Juliano said.
Last spring, the American Psychiatric Association formally accepted Caffeine Use Disorder as a health issue in need of additional research in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders – the standard reference for mental disorders.