Picture:
Picture:
GEBER86/ISTOCK

Feeling lethargic and listless? Can’t concentrate?

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may be suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

The beverage, which has been classified as a mild stimulant by the NHS, finds its home in office kitchens, houses and in cafés in all corners of the world.

The substance is not without its dangers, and over-consumption has been known to cause anything from a mild headache, to hospital admittance and dialysis.

Well, a little known fact, and one that evaded mainstream attention is that the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has, as of 2013, listed caffeine withdrawal as a mental health disorder.

Let that sink in for a moment.

According to the British Coffee Association, 80 per cent of UK households buy instant coffee for in-home consumption, and 55 million cups are consumed every day in Britain alone.

This means – at least if you take what the DSM-5 says as fact – that suffering from fatigue, headache and difficulty focusing, could all be symptoms of a mental disorder.

The positive effects of coffee seem to be touted as often, and with as much verve, as the critics, and a recent study by Stanford Immunologists found that the consumption of caffeine can prevent chronic inflation as you age.

So what's the verdict? Is caffeine withdrawal a mental disorder?

Psychologist Peter Rogers, from the University of Bristol, specialises in the effects of caffeine, and he isn't sure.

He admits that caffeine withdrawal is an "unpleasant" feeling, and some people may even describe suffering flu-like symptoms, and the "cardinal" headache that so often descends when one stops drinking coffee.

Halting the consumption of caffeine can also impact concentration, which may temporarily impair one's functioning, however these symptoms will usually disappear after a few days of abstinence.

Dr Rogers told indy100:

Labels can be helpful and unhelpful – I’m not sure it’s particularly helpful to put it as a mental health disorder.

It’s helpful to draw attention to the possibility – that this is how people feel when they suffer from caffeine withdrawal – this can help diagnosis...labelling it as a mental disorder may exaggerate its seriousness.

 It’s about getting a sense of proportion.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)