Caffeine Use Disorder

Csilla Ágoston, Róbert Urbán, Mara J. Richman & Zsolt Demetrovics, writing for Science Trends:

According to our results, one of the most important aspects of caffeine use disorder is suffering from the symptoms, which was the most capable in discriminating people with lower and higher level of caffeine use disorder, and it was also the third most severe criterion. The two most severe symptoms were failure to fulfill obligations (e. g.  work, school or home responsibilities) and social/interpersonal problems because of caffeine consumption; these symptoms mostly occurred on the higher end of caffeine use disorder continuum. This means that although caffeine consumption is a socially acceptable habit, caffeine use can interfere with social or occupational functioning for some individuals.

In contrast, the significant amount of time spent with consuming or obtaining caffeine was the least discriminating criterion, which means that the probability of a positive response at lower levels is nearly the same as it is at higher levels. This low level of discriminative value can be the consequence of the high and legal availability of caffeine compared to other substances. The presence of consumption of more caffeine or longer than intended and craving were likely even in case of lower levels of CUD, therefore, these are considered to be less severe symptoms and do not indicate problematic caffeine consumption. Tolerance (which means that the user have to consume more caffeine to reach the same effect or the same dosage cannot induce the same effect anymore), unsuccessful quitting attempts, caffeine use despite negative consequences and attempts to avoid withdrawal symptoms were moderately severe symptoms and had moderate discriminative values.

For many years I've noticed that most people drastically misunderstand their beloved daily stimulant and rush to downplay its negative effects, so it's great to see that caffeine's abuse potential is being studied now.