Despite the debate over whether true caffeine addiction is possible, “caffeine withdrawal” is a known clinical condition with predictable symptoms. Caffeine withdrawal is known to occur in some people who regularly consume caffeine when their consumption is suddenly halted. Doctors at Johns Hopkins University confirmed that withdrawal symptoms can occur even when small amounts (corresponding to one cup of coffee per day) of caffeine are consumed. In a review of 170 years of caffeine research, the Hopkins team examined 57 separate studies and found that the features of caffeine withdrawal can vary from mild mood changes to systemic, flu-like symptoms. The major types of caffeine withdrawal reactions were identified as
- Headache, fatigue, or drowsiness;
- Depressed, irritable mood;
- Flu-like symptoms of nausea and/or vomiting;
- Muscle pain or stiffness.
Caffeine has been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms, which indicates physical dependence. It has been harder to prove whether caffeine use can lead to addiction, but some people show signs of addiction, such as continuing to use despite health problems caused by the drug and being unable to cut back.
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