Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive drug in the world. An estimated 90 percent of adults use it, some for its mind altering effects (that boost!), others simply when enjoying products that happen to contain caffeine. While not all caffeine users are addicts, many experience some degree of dependence. It is worth being aware of the consequences of habitual caffeine consumption.
How Serious is Caffeine Addiction?
Caffeine use certainly isn t as serious as the use of hard substances like cocaine or heroin. While dependence on those drugs can create serious physical, social, and mental problems, no such dire consequences accompany dependence on caffeine. That being said, over-consumption of caffeine can alter some aspects of an individual s behavior with surprising similarity to those who have developed a dependency for harder drugs. Many prefer the term caffeine dependence to addiction, as it more accurately captures the less serious, but still important, nature of the condition.
Sources of Caffeine
Beverages containing a high amount of caffeine include coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. Some candies contain a relatively high amount of caffeine as well, especially chocolate-rich products.
A typical six ounce cup of coffee can contain anywhere from 20 to 150 milligrams of coffee. Even decaffeinated coffee is not completely caffeine-free, as there is still an estimated 2 to 9 milligrams contained in six ounces. Tea usually contains around 30 to 40 milligrams of caffeine per six ounces, while soda and energy drinks can have as many 120 milligrams of caffeine in a twelve ounce bottle.
How Much is Too Much?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies caffeine intake at four different stages: low to moderate, moderate, high, and heavy consumption.
Low to moderate: 130-300 mg per day
Moderate: 200-300 mg per day