Are you addicted to caffeine?

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Are you addicted to caffeine and don’t even know it?

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For most of us, caffeine isn’t just about coffee – it is in other drinks and food items we consume daily.

Caffeine could be causing you hidden problems every single day.

Coffee is a morning ritual for so many Australians. According to 2013 research done by Roy Morgan, Australians drink around 5 billion cups of coffee a year. We drink four hundred and eighty million cappuccinos every year.

But with new studies uncovering a condition called “Caffeine Use Disorder” (CUD), coffee, energy drinks, tea and other caffeinated products are being put under the spotlight.

In a study co-authored by Psychology Professor Laura Juliano at American University, results indicate that more people are finding themselves dependant on caffeine. So much so they are unable to reduce their intake and may experience withdrawal symptoms and are unable to give it up not withstanding other serious health conditions such as heart disease, bleeding disorders and even pregnancy.

Sound like you? You’re not the only coffee zombie out there as the American Psychiatric Association officially recognizes Caffeine Use Disorder as a health concern in need of further research to look into the impact on many different aspects of the body.

We drink four hundred and eighty million cappuccinos every year.

So what is Caffeine Use Disorder?

It is the condition that combines symptoms of caffeine addiction, withdrawals and the inability to reduce caffeine consumption even if the substance might impact on another condition the person might have, such as a bleeding disorder, heart condition or being pregnant.

Although it is not yet recognized by all health organizations, Juliano outlines a diagnostic criteria for Caffeine Use Disorder, and summarizes previous studies of the physical and psychological effects caffeine and caffeine dependence have on people in her study. Juliano and her coauthors also suggest a research agenda that will help guide further study of caffeine dependence.

How does it impact you?

If you are drinking more than three cups of coffee per day, caffeine could be interrupting the daily functioning of your life. Juliano suggests keeping caffeine consumption to 400 mg per day – this is equivalent to two-three cups.

But caffeine isn’t only in coffee. When counting your cups make sure you include energy drinks, tea, soft drinks and chocolate.

This might sound easy but due to labeling laws and simply being unaware, limiting our coffee consumption can be challenging.

Manufacturers aren’t required to state on the label the amount of caffeine in their products. If this doesn’t make it hard enough to keep track, some products, like energy drinks, don’t even have an official limit of caffeine allowed. So next time you top up your coffee for the 5th time, thank twice and  swap to a chamomile tea or sparkling water.

3 things you didn’t know about caffeine

  1. Decaf doesn’t mean it’s caffeine free – although it does reduce the amount of caffeine present
  2. Caffeine can be found in some over the counter medications
  3. Most energy drinks don’t contain more caffeine than coffee – they just enhance their boost with sugar

By BB Intern Dominique Tait

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dominique Tait

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