It’s official — you really do need that coffee in the morning and if you don’t get it, you really are in withdrawal, researchers said on Wednesday.
As little as one cup of coffee a day can produce caffeine addiction, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said. “Caffeine is the world’s most commonly used stimulant, and it’s cheap and readily available so people can maintain their use of caffeine quite easily,” said Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience who led a review of 170 years’ worth of studies on caffeine. “The latest research demonstrates, however, that when people don’t get their usual dose they can suffer a range of withdrawal symptoms, including headache, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. They may even feel like they have the flu with nausea and muscle pain.” Griffiths and colleagues are pressing for caffeine addiction to be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the bible of mental disorders, as well as other references. He and Laura Juliano of American University in Washington looked at 57 experimental studies and nine surveys to validate what any coffee drinker could have told them — missing that daily cup causes fatigue, grumpiness and often severe headache. Experiments have shown that 50 percent of people got headaches when their java was taken away and 13 percent were sick enough to lose time at work. Writing in the October issue of the journal Psychopharmacology, Griffiths and Juliano also said it was possible to free oneself of caffeine addiction. “We teach a systematic method of gradually reducing caffeine consumption over time by substituting decaffeinated or non-caffeinated products. Using such a method allows people to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms,” Griffiths said. In North America, 80 percent to 90 percent of adults drink caffeine regularly. Average daily intake in the United States is about 280 milligrams, found in one to two mugs of coffee or three to five cans of soft drink.(Source: Johns Hopkins University: Reuters Health News: September 2004.)