Caffeine addiction is a type of drug addiction associated with prolonged abuse caffeine in pure form or as part of some products (coffee, tea, cola, etc.). The addiction is characterized by disorders of the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, headaches, sleep disorders, neuralgia, fine tremor of the hands and tongue, hyperreflexia, pain hypersensitivity and impotence.
Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant. On average in the United States every person consumes daily about 200 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of two cups of strong coffee.
The caffeine effect is related to the blockade of adenosine receptors and inhibition of phosphodiesterase (cAMP increase). Caffeine stimulates the respiratory and vasomotor center.
The abuse of coffee or very strong decoction of tea can lead to the caffeine addiction. The seeds of coffee and tea leaves contain up to 2% of caffeine and its alkaloids. It is believed that a cup of coffee contain 0.1 g of caffeine. The symptoms of poisoning appear at taking 0.25 g and above.
The poisoning symptoms are similar to those of hypomania. However, the increase of physical activity is less pronounced. There are the acceleration of thinking, hasty speech, distractibility, restlessness. The improvement of mental abilities, memory improvement, worsening of attention, «creative inspiration» are subjectively experienced. The mood is slightly elevated, but without a pronounced euphoria. The effects of fatigue, drowsiness, lethargy disappear. The patients feel a surge of strength and courage. Among the vegetative symptoms, there can be tachycardia, sometimes with arrythmia. There may be a slight increase in blood pressure. Since caffeine increases gastric secretion, the patient can feel the pain in the epigastric region, as well as hunger, or vomiting. Over time, this can cause peptic ulcer, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The urine output is also increased. High doses can cause muscle twitching.
Caffeine addiction is both physical and psychological. Withdrawal symptoms manifest a wide range of unpleasant mental and physical conditions including irritability, nervousness, tremor, restlessness, headaches, insomnia, respiratory alkalosis, and increased heart rate.
Despite widespread use of coffee as an everyday beverage in many regions, the caffeine addiction is relatively rare. Physical dependence is not typical. Prolonged abuse accompanied by depletion, cardiac arrhythmias, severe chronic gastritis, as well as severe emotional instability.
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