Caffeine Addiction: Supportive Evidence and Consequences

Caffeine Addiction: Supportive Evidence and Consequences

Caffeine found in tea, coffee, mate, cola beverages, cocoas and chocolate products is an integral product of the diet of many people. It is the most widely used psychoactive substance and has been considered occasionally as a drug of abuse. Caffeine is a behavioral stimulant consumed on a worldwide basis. The question of whether caffeine is addictive has been debated for over a decade. Caffeine acts as a mild positive rein forcer but is not consistently self-administered in humans or animals.

Over-the-counter (OTC) amphetamine look-alike drugs are often abused. These drugs typically contain caffeine and other stimulant ingredients, and are marketed as appetite suppressants or stay-awake/stay-alert aids. If taken in high doses, these OTC drugs may cause the same high and other effects associated with amphetamines. Regular users may exhibit irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbances, tremors, dilated pupils, skin flushing, and weight loss over time.

A caffeine-bearing extract is widely used in mass-marketed carbonated cola drinks, some of which also contain an extract of coca leaves with the cocaine removed. Professional formulations (e.g. "alcohol and other drugs") often seek to make the point that caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and other substances in common non- medical use are also drugs in the sense of being taken at least in part for their psychoactive effects.

Acknowledging that there is a "big debate" among researchers about whether caffeine is addictive. One epidemiological study reported dependence over a wide dose range, from as little as one or two cups per day to as much as 25 cups. Several studies found that persons who consume low or moderate amounts of caffeine may have a withdrawal syndrome after their daily consumption of caffeine ceases.

It is common knowledge that coffee, tea, and other beverages that contain caffeine are habit forming. A medical study by the University of Chicago confirmed that caffeine is strongly addictive, with subjects exhibiting "syndromes of intoxication, withdrawal, and dependence". That study concludes that the effect is physiological, not just psychological. Widespread caffeine use is of interest in that it reflects the propensity of people to use stimulant drugs with the attendant addiction liability.

According to study by the American Psychiatric Association stated that caffeine is an addictive psychoactive substance. Similar to other licit and illicit psychoactive drugs, individual differences in caffeine use, intoxication, tolerance, and withdrawal are substantially influenced by genetic factors. Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, Canada also supported this result and concluded that dependence on nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol may be governed by the same factors and possibly should be considered jointly in the treatment of alcoholic persons.

Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, recreational drugs, or certain prescription medications; smoking can cause restlessness and quitting smoking may also cause temporary insomnia. A review of 86 studies of nicotine withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal, and caffeine toxicity published in the journal of CSA suggested that the symptoms are similar enough to be confused, and that reported nicotine withdrawal symptoms may be a mixture of nicotine withdrawal and caffeine toxicity.

Athletes often use caffeine to help them perform better, both in routine workouts and in competition. But too much caffeine can not only produce ill effects but can deprive an athlete of the chance to compete. Even excessive caffeine can cause you to produce more urine and lose more water, especially in hot weather. You could become dehydrated and hurt your performance.

After sudden caffeine cessation, withdrawal symptoms develop in a small portion of the population but are moderate and transient. It appears that although caffeine fulfils some of the criteria for drug dependence and shares with amphetamines and cocaine a certain specificity of action on the cerebral dopaminergic system; published at a journal review.

A widespread study done by Harvard School of Public Health, Boston over 1 lac male & female people and found the relationship between caffeine or coffee intake and risk of Parkinson's disease. The lowest risk observed at moderate intakes (1-3 cups of coffee/day, or the third quintile of caffeine consumption). These results support a possible protective effect of moderate doses of caffeine on risk of Parkinson's disease.

Research study completed by and indicated an important relation between children’s diet habit and migraine attack. Diet factor in pediatric migraine is frequently neglected in favor of preventive drug therapy. The list of foods, beverages, and additives that trigger migraine includes cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, hot dogs, monosodium glutamate, aspartame, fatty foods, ice cream, caffeine withdrawal, and alcoholic drinks, especially red wine and beer. Underage drinking is a significant potential cause of recurrent headache in today’s adolescent patients.

Evidence continues to mount that the dental erosion produced by soft drinks and sports-drinks depends not only on their pH, but on their buffering capacity and phosphate content. Acid drinks pose a risk when consumed in the dehydrated state, when salivation is reduced. A comparative study by School of Dentistry, The University of Queensland also indicated the effect of caffeine addiction on dental care.

The acid beverage mainly consumed at work or after sports was cola (unpublished). Although the caffeine content of teas, coffees, chocolate and cola beverages varies considerably, patients whose main source of caffeine is a cola beverage put themselves at risk of dental erosion from the orthophosphoric acid contained in these socially acceptable, mildly addictive beverages. Thus, to the health consequences of caffeine addiction which have been investigated, salivary dysfunction and dental erosion should be added; suggested at the study.

Dr. Chandrasekaran Sujatha at the Journal of Glaucoma identified a positive cross-sectional association between coffee consumption/higher caffeine intakes and elevated intraocular pressure.

However another study by shown that opposite they explained caffeine as; although caffeine is the most widely used behaviorally active drug in the world, caffeine physical dependence has been poorly characterized in laboratory animals and only moderately well characterized in humans.

Same like study done by Université Louis Pasteur, France also supported this result and shown hat low doses of caffeine which reflect the usual human level of consumption fail to activate reward circuits in the brain and thus provide functional evidence of the very low addictive potential of caffeine.

But most recently (Nov. 2007) a study suggested two genetic factors - one which strongly impacted on risk for A/D of illicit drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine, and one that impacted on risk for A/D of licit drugs, including caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. However, these two factors were rather strongly correlated. It was also of interest to note that the genes for caffeine A/D were pretty independent of those found for all the other substances; according to a study led by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers.

IOC allows caffeine an upper limit of 12 mcg/mL of urine tested. Over a 2- to 3-hour period, a dose of 100 mg of caffeine results in a urine concentration of 1.5 mcg/mL. So, for example, if in a 3-hour period you consumed 800 mg of caffeine (5 to 6 cups of strong coffee or a couple of espresso drinks), you could exceed the legal dose.

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