Are you one of the millions addicted to caffeine? Before you answer “no,” really think about it. How many times have you told relatives or co-workers, “Don’ talk to me until I have my coffee”?
According to a new U.S. study, “caffeine use disorder” is a serious addiction that isn’t getting the attention that it needs.
“Caffeine is a drug, a mild stimulant which is used by almost everybody on a daily basis,” according to Charles O’Brien, chair of the Substance-Related Disorders Work Group.
Researchers at American University in Washington, D.C., suggest some people are so dependent on caffeine, which is considered the most commonly used drug in the world, that they suffer withdrawal symptoms including migraines.
“There is a misconception among professionals and lay people alike that caffeine is not difficult to give up,” said American University Psychology Professor Laura Juliano. “However, in population-based studies, more than 50 percent of regular caffeine consumers report that they have had difficulty quitting or reducing caffeine use.”
During this study, researchers found that culprit behind caffeine addiction is due to the mislabeling of most products that contain caffeine.
“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. “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.”
To avoid possibly overdosing on caffeine, the study suggests limiting caffeine intake to 400 mg per day, which is the equivalent of about two to three 8 ounce cups of coffee. For pregnant women, as well as people who experience anxiety, insomnia or high blood pressure, that number drops down to less than 200 mg per day.
Conclusions from the study were reached by summarizing results from previous caffeine research, including data showing how widespread caffeine dependency is, as well as the physical and psychological symptoms experienced by caffeine users.
Click the link to see what other foods and drinks are loaded with caffeine that you may be addicted to.