Caffeine The Most Popular Stimulant

Behavioural Disorder: Caffeinism

Chronic excessive caffeine use has long been associated with abnormal behaviour. There was renewed interest in this possibility in the 1970s and early 1980s with the appearance of a number of reports that psychiatric patients with high levels of anxiety often drank a lot of coffee and could decrease their anxiety by reducing their caffeine intake.

In one study, for example, 22% of hospitalized psychiatric patients, whose scores on tests for anxiety and depression were significantly higher than normal, were found to be excessive users of caffeine (750 mg or more per day), In another study, 14 male psychiatric patients were, unknown to them or their nurses, given decaffeinated rather than regular coffee for 3 weeks. Tests showed a reduction in anxiety, irritability, suspiciousness and hostility. When regular coffee was introduced, previous levels of the psychological problems returned.

- pg 118 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs, Caffeine The Most Popular Stimulant by Richard J. Gilbert Ph.D. (1986)

One of the problems with treating caffeinism is that caffeine withdrawal itself can be stressful. A patient who is chronically anxious when caffeine is withdrawn, and the anxiety may be made worse by a withdrawal headache.

-- pg 121 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs, Caffeine The Most Popular Stimulant by Richard J. Gilbert Ph.D. (1986)

Hazardous Levels of Chronic Caffeine Use
According to studies mentioned in this chapter, regular use of more than about 650 mg of caffeine (8 or more cups of coffee per day) may be associated with higher incidences of ventricular premature heartbeats (irregular heartbeats), high levels of cholesterol, bladder cancer (in me) and behavioural disorders. And while some researchers consider this dose as the maximum which can be used safely by a pregnant woman, many others have argued for a lower level and a few have argued for a higher level.

Given the most current evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that, in general, healthy adults may consume up to 600 mg of caffeine per day without doing themselves harm. As mentioned earlier, caffeine use during pregnancy, use that leads to chronic sleeplessness, and use of high doses that lead to hangover may be exceptions. Also, it follows that since physical dependence on caffeine can occur at doses of approximately 400 mg per day, a person may be dependent on caffeine without necessarily being at risk of being affected by the various diseases that have been associated with caffeine use. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs Caffeine The Most Popular Stimulant

- pg 122 The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs, Caffeine The Most Popular Stimulant by Richard J. Gilbert Ph.D. (1986)

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