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If I drink coffee everyday, will I be addicted to it, or is it just a myth?

Is there any risk to my own health due to caffeine?

  • possible duplicate of Will I develop a caffeine dependency by skipping 2 days? – Ivan Kapitonov Sep 14 '15 at 16:08
  • 2
    It's a positive thing – Coffee Oct 7 '15 at 18:59
  • If this is a serious question I would think you would ask a health professional. If you are already drinking coffee every day (you say you already have "symptoms" in the comment below), don't you already have the answer to your first question? – daniel Oct 10 '15 at 12:40
  • maybe i am not sure if this symptoms is from coffee – mr.Arrow Oct 11 '15 at 20:47
  • @daniel Just because you do something every day does not mean you are addicted. – paparazzo Oct 30 '15 at 17:11
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According to this review published in Psychopharmacology, it is very much not a myth.

The caffeine-withdrawal syndrome has been well characterized and there is sufficient empirical evidence to warrant inclusion of caffeine withdrawal as a disorder in the DSM and revision of diagnostic criteria in the ICD.

More explicitly (emphasis my own):

Of 49 symptom categories identified, the following 10 fulfilled validity criteria: headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not clearheaded. In addition, flu-like symptoms, nausea/vomiting, and muscle pain/stiffness were judged likely to represent valid symptom categories. In experimental studies, the incidence of headache was 50% and the incidence of clinically significant distress or functional impairment was 13%. Typically, onset of symptoms occurred 12–24 h after abstinence, with peak intensity at 20–51 h, and for a duration of 2–9 days. In general, the incidence or severity of symptoms increased with increases in daily dose; abstinence from doses as low as 100 mg/day produced symptoms. Research is reviewed indicating that expectancies are not a prime determinant of caffeine withdrawal and that avoidance of withdrawal symptoms plays a central role in habitual caffeine consumption.

As for health risks, beyond the symptoms of withdrawal, caffeine has been linked to a number of conditions, such as:

So to summarize: Yes, you can be addicted to caffeine. No, it is not a myth. And it seems like you need as little as 100mg a day to be addicted, that is the equivalent of 1.5 espresso shots, according to this link.. Prolonged caffeine use can be harmful, moderation is recommended.

  • very good @nick thx – mr.Arrow Sep 14 '15 at 13:19
  • I already have some of these symptoms – mr.Arrow Sep 14 '15 at 13:19
  • honestly, none of these symptoms represents anything that suggests craving. Addition to me is when your body craves for something, like if it was a need. (drink, eat, shag, drink coffee ?) I recognize that quitting coffee is problematic, I personally feel sleepy when I do. But I don't have images of coffee cups floating around my eyes. I don't think about it. Maybe it is addictive to some people, but nothing you mentioned is evidence of this. – v.oddou Sep 25 '15 at 3:13
  • I would disagree with your definition of addiction. Collins defines it as "the condition of being abnormally dependent on some habit, esp compulsive dependency on narcotic drugs". The crux here, is abnormally dependent on some habit, I also quote my answer "avoidance of withdrawal symptoms plays a central role in habitual caffeine consumption." The failure to keep up the habit results in withdrawal symptoms, the avoidance of these symptoms has been shown to cause habitual consumption. These people are dependent on their habit in order to avoid withdrawal and therefore are addicted. – Nick Udell Sep 25 '15 at 11:00
  • human habit, tastes, and likes are also a plausible explanation for human interest in coffee, and the research is by no means conclusive, or unanimous, or even heavily weighted towards the results stated here, which are frankly, paranoid statistical outliers. This answer is pure bunk. – Warren P Feb 5 '16 at 13:55
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Even according to researchers who assert the existence of caffeine dependence, the statistical likelihood of dependence is between 9% and 30%. If you determine you are among those who suffer negative effects from coffee consumption, it might be wise to find a substitute for coffee.

Below is an abstract from an article, "Is Coffee Addictive--A Review of the Literature," by S. Patel in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (2006), vol. 32 (4),493-502, suggesting that "addiction" is too strong a term.

Abstract: The common-sense use of the term addiction is that regular consumption is irresistible and that it creates problems. Caffeine use does not fit this profile. Its intake does no harm to the individual or to society and its users are not compelled to consume it. Though cessation of regular use may result in symptoms such as headache and lethargy, these are easily and reliably reversed by ingestion of caffeine. Some have argued that continued caffeine use is an attempt to suppress low grade withdrawal symptoms such as sleepiness and lethargy. In some moderate users, this is possible; however, in experimental contexts, the phenomenon is too inconsistent to constitute a reliably valid syndrome.

The current article on point in WebMD says that caffeine addiction is a myth, with "some truth to it," concluding:

This one has some truth to it, depending on what you mean by "addictive." Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn't threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do.

In a self-styled "Fact Sheet" published by the Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharm. Res. Unit, here based on several studies, the sheet describes responses to a phone survey in which between 9% and 30% (depending on the symptoms offered) of caffeine users admitted symptoms associated (by psychiatrists) with addiction. The sheet concludes that a "clinically meaningful caffeine dependence syndrome does exist."

It appears that experts may disagree, at least about wording, especially when the wording can have economic or legal consequences.

A thoughtful remark by Betty Kovacs, MS, RD, from the Medicine.Net article on this question:

I don't know if we need to classify caffeine as addictive or something that you can be dependent on. I think that we need to be educated about the pros and cons of it in our diets and be aware of how our own body reacts to it.

  • It's interesting that on a site devoted to coffee, few if any readers think it's not addictive. The consequences of medicalizing/regulating this aspect of contemporary life seem terrible (anyone remember Prohibition?), but the wording of some literature seems to point in that direction. – daniel Oct 29 '15 at 13:45
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Depends on how much coffee you consume, the frequency, the duration, as well as the potency of the caffeine..i do know from experience that my body is addicted to caffeine because i get severe headaches when i do not consume coffee (after having my usual dose of triple latte once a day for several months). The good news is that the headache goes away after two weeks of no caffeine, and lots of ibuprofen.

  • Welcome to Coffee SE, and it's good that the headache goes away :-) – Ivan Kapitonov Oct 24 '15 at 12:22
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To cut out the scientific explanation, basically the caffeine addiction also strongly depends if you like coffee or not.

If you really like it, there is a chance that you suddenly feel like drinking coffee without a sudden reason or at any hour.

Can't live through a day without coffee is also highly possible.

But all these only provided that you really love coffee.

Otherwise, if you are drinking coffee frequently but you don't really like it, you won't have problem with addiction and you can get rid of it easily.

  • 2
    This doesn't really address the question. – Ivan Kapitonov Oct 1 '15 at 7:08

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