Caffeine is a controversial substance in both the medical and professional addiction communities. Although there are numerous medical studies that show health benefits as a result of caffeine use, caffeine is also considered to be the most commonly used stimulant and psychoactive drug in the world.
According to research, approximately 90% of American adults consume caffeine on a daily basis. Just like other addictive drugs, caffeine has been shown to affect mood, stamina, the cerebral vascular system, and gastric and colonic activity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association classify moderate ingestion of caffeine as safe, however they agree that people can become dependent on the substance to the point of addiction and symptoms of psychological and physical withdrawal.
Caffeine withdrawal can include fatigue, headaches, decreased energy, decreased alertness, drowsiness or sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, and confusion. There is no disputing the fact that caffeine addiction is not as intense or dangerous as drug or alcohol addictions, however, experts wonder what effects we will see in the future as a result of our nation’s extreme dependence on caffeine. Studies have also shown that individuals who are addicted to stimulants, particularly cocaine, amphetamines, and cigarettes, consume a much higher amount of caffeine than the average population.