Caffeine Withdrawal Is a Mental Illness Now

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CoffeeIs it true that caffeine withdrawal is now a mental illness? According to the new DSM-5 manual of psychiatric diagnoses, it is one of a couple “Caffeine-Related Disorders.” As reported by the Boston Globe, the new version of the DSM says that our brains and bodies can become dependent on caffeine leading to symptoms of withdrawal such as headaches, fatigue, trouble focusing, and mild depression.

While many coffee drinkers are aware of the irritability and headaches that can come from going without their daily coffee, but most probably never considered it a mental disorder. Psychologist Alan Budney from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth served on the DSM-5 committee and explained their reasoning for including the condition.

“The caffeine consideration isn’t really any different from alcohol, which is a legal substance but can also be misused and produce a clinically significant [transitory] withdrawal syndrome,” he said. He did however emphasize that “al mental disorders are not long term” and that a diagnosis should only be made when symptoms cause “clinically significant distress” or impair the ability to function.

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