Caffeine Addiction

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Condition updated on April 17th, 2019

Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine addiction is a common addiction among people. It is possible to become addicted to caffeine and withdraw from caffeine. Caffeine addiction is treatable, and can have a significant impact on affected people’s day-to-day lives.

Caffeine addiction refers to the excessive use or misuse of caffeine. Caffeine addiction can have negative health effects. It can cause several different mental and physical health issues that are a challenge to cope with each day.

Caffeine is considered a stimulant drug. It is considered a stimulant drug because it boosts energy and alertness. It also causes many symptoms that can be difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis.

Symptoms of Caffeine Addiction

Many people who experience symptoms of caffeine addiction are unaware that their caffeine intake is causing their symptoms.

Common symptoms of caffeine addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Jitters or restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Dependence on caffeine to function
  • Excitability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle tension
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn

These symptoms are quite uncomfortable and can cause more harm than good during the day. The discomfort that comes from nervousness and jitters can affect work performance. The physical symptoms like muscle tension and stomach pain can cause serious medical consequences.

Causes of Caffeine Addiction

The cause of caffeine addiction is simple: drinking too much caffeine. People who are addicted to caffeine started off as reliant on caffeine. They depended on caffeine to get them through the day. Whether they were suffering from sleep issues, stress, or long work hours, they used caffeine to stay awake.

The general rule is the more caffeine you drink the higher your risk of caffeine addiction. Everyone who drinks caffeine is at risk if they are not mindful of their intake.

People who drink coffee everyday should stick to 1-2 cups of coffee per day. If they struggle to get through the day without needing more than 2 cups in a day they are at high risk of caffeine addiction.

Those who use caffeine to cope with stress or depression are at increased risk of caffeine addiction. Using any substance to cope with emotions or stress significantly increases the risk of addiction. It is the same with caffeine. Even though caffeine does not cause a high, it is a mood-altering drug that can affect the emotional and nervous system.

Treatment for Caffeine Addiction

Since it is not recognized as a diagnosable mental health disorder by professionals, caffeine addiction does not have a formal treatment modality. It is recognized as a condition that should be addressed if it is significantly impacting a person’s quality of life.

Treatment for caffeine addiction typically begins with education about the condition. It is important for an affected person to know how they are affected by caffeine addiction. Understanding what areas of their life are being negatively impacted helps to boost motivation to work on their addiction.

After the affected person is properly educated, they will work with their therapist on a plan to reduce their caffeine intake. The goal will be determined by both client and therapist. Sometimes the goal will to be to quit drinking caffeine. Sometimes it will be to stick to a limited amount of caffeine daily.

A mental health professional may also work with an affected person on learning stress management exercises. If the affected person is suffering from another disorder or insomnia, anxiety or depression, it will also be addressed in their treatment plan.

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