A recent study published in the Journal of Caffeine Research indicates that more people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms and are unable to reduce caffeine consumption even if they have another condition that may be impacted by caffeine-such as a pregnancy, a heart condition, or a bleeding disorder.These symptoms combined are a condition called “Caffeine Use Disorder.”

Coffee girl

According to the study co-authored by American University psychology professor Laura Juliano, even though caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world-and is found in everything from coffee, tea, and soda, to OTC pain relievers, chocolate, and now a whole host of food and beverage products branded with some form of the word “energy”-health professionals have been slow to characterize problematic caffeine use and acknowledge that some cases may call for treatment.

Laura Juliano
The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognized as such because it is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines.

And while many people can consume caffeine without harm, for some it produces negative effects, physical dependence, interferes with daily functioning, and can be difficult to give up, which are signs of problematic use.

The study summarizes the results of previously published caffeine research to present the biological evidence for caffeine dependence, data that shows how widespread dependence is, and the significant physical and psychological symptoms experienced by habitual caffeine users.


Juliano and her coauthors also address the diagnostic criteria for Caffeine Use Disorder and outline an agenda to help direct future caffeine dependence research.