Can’t function in the morning without that first cup of tea? Or go through a loyalty card a day in Café Direct? Well, you’re not alone as recent research from the John Hopkins School of Medicine has found that “caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world.”
But it’s not as if you catch so-called ‘caffeine addicts’ resorting to raw instant granules off of the spoon, so can liking a latté in the morning really be classified as an addiction?
It would seem so, as more than 50% of regular caffeine users admit that they would have difficulty giving up their fix. Perhaps worse, the study reports that people who use caffeine excessively are “unable to reduce consumption despite knowledge of recurrent health problems associated with continued caffeine use”.
Undeterred by the possible associatde health risks, many people are continuing to load up on caffeine to get them through the day. It is therefore not surprising that the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deems that caffeine use disorder is a “condition for further study”.
So are you hooked? American University deems a person to be caffeine dependent if they have experienced these three symptoms within the last year:
1. You have a persistent desire to give up or cut down on caffeine use, or you’ve tried to do so unsuccessfully.
2. You continue to use caffeine despite knowing it contributes to recurring physical or psychological problems for you (like insomnia, or jitteriness).
3. You experience withdrawal symptoms if you don’t have your usual amount of caffeine.
Other symptoms can include having more caffeine than you intended to, developing a high tolerance to your usual levels of caffeine, craving caffeine or failing to fulfil your obligations because of caffeine use or withdrawal. That means if you didn’t make your 9am seminar because you drank coffee and stayed up too late, or not being able to focus because you missed your morning cup, this probably applies to you.
But it’s not all bad, coffee lovers. If you do not suffer from any health issues stemming from caffeine, the java has big health and beauty benefits due to the high level of antioxidants. It has also been shown to be good at preventing dementia later in life and may help you to ward off the most diagnosed form of skin cancer.
But maybe it would be a good idea to make that a regular rather than a large next time.