Could too much coffee cause you to have a “mental disorder?” Show Notes

Tuesday, June 04, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Do you drink coffee? A LOT of coffee? Could your caffeine habit cause you to have a temporary mental disorder? 

LiveScience.com reports that the DSM-5, the latest edition of the psychiatric mental health manual, lists “caffeine intoxication” among the many disorders known to psychiatry. 

If you must know, DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Check out this list of symptoms: Restlessness, nervousness, excitement, red face, gastrointestinal upset, muscle twitching, rambling speech, sleeplessness, and rapid, irregular heartbeat.

According to the DSM-5, if you experience five or more of these symptoms during or shortly after consuming caffeine, you could be diagnosed with caffeine intoxication. Oh yeah, the symptoms must also impair your ability to function in some way. 

This condition appears in both the old and new editions of the DSM, but the new version adds a related diagnosis: caffeine withdrawal, which describes the effects of stopping or dramatically reducing your consumption of caffeine.

Withdrawal symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood and other issues.

Typically, caffeine is used as a performance-enhancing substance. It speeds up the central nervous system, typically making us feel awake, alert and energetic. It’s found in coffee, tea and chocolate, and some energy drinks, and is even added to some types of headache medication and bottled water.

Caffeine is the most widely used, behaviorally active drug in the world, and according to the DSM-5, some people may be unaware of their physical dependence on it.

For more on this story, go to psych.org and enter “caffeine” in the search engine. I’m gonna go there right after I have my non-fat double mocha, no whip. 

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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