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The Coffee Defense: Caffeine withdrawal now officially a mental disorder

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Caffeine is a stimulant, albeit a mild one. It is for many Americans, the drug of choice and some cannot start their day without it. Although it is often the topic of humor, caffeine withdrawal is a serious side effect of consumption. Now, the American Psychiatric Association suggests that withdrawal is a mental disorder.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), excessive caffeine intake can lead to a form of caffeine withdrawal that may be classified as a mental disorder.

That's right, if you drink more than 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day, you may suffer a mental disorder should you come down off the caffeine.

The manual says that excessive caffeine intake can cause a mental condition known as "caffeine intoxication." People with this level of intoxication will show five or more of the following symptoms: restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushed face, diuresis, gastrointestinal disturbance, twitching, rambling thought or speech, tachycardia, arrhythmia, periods of inexhaustibly, or psychomotor agitation.

In other words, a caffeine buzz.

That entry is listed in both DSM-4 and DSM-5, but with the new entry in the latest edition. This entry talks about caffeine withdrawal. Those symptoms include fatigue, headache, and difficulty focusing.

If you drink a lot of coffee, about two or 3 cups at a time, expect a withdrawal. Anyone who consumes larger quantities of caffeine then stops cold turkey, will suffer these symptoms acutely.

Apparently, this is enough for caffeine withdrawal to get listed as a mental disorder.

Fortunately, as we all know, the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal pass with time.

Although it's unlikely that caffeine withdrawal disorder will make its way into the courtroom as part of a criminal defense, psychologists are saying by including it in the journal, that it can be a serious psychological issue. Caffeine withdrawal disorder can affect sociability, work performance, sleep, as well as mood and general health.

Of course, it must always be remembered that caffeine intake is up to the individual and is the result of personal choice. As such, anyone suffering through caffeine withdrawals will have to accept responsibility for their own discomfort.

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