The Caffeine Conundrum

So it seems that Caffeine and College go hand in hand. The two big C’s perhaps, you can’t have one without the other. I found Melissa’s article about the Kentucky caffeine killer interesting because of the induced psychosis that the killer claimed to have from caffeine intoxication. Here’s a particularly chilliing quote from the article: “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — published by the American Psychiatric Association showing standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders — defines overdose as more than 300 milligrams. That’s about three cups of coffee.”
Does this mean that most of our college campus is on a coffee overdose daily? How does this contribute to learning and memory? Does this impede daily functions and ability to take in new information presented during class lectures? How does prolonged caffeine abuse affect cognitive functions?

Well, when in doubt, search on pubmed.

Methylxanthines and Drug Dependence: A Focus on Interactions with Substances of Abuse
Micaela Morelli and Nicola Simola

“Consumption of methylxanthines is pervasive and their use is often associated with that of substances known to produce dependence and to have abuse potential. Since the methylxanthine that mostly influences mental processes and readily induces psychostimulation is caffeine, this review mainly focuses on caffeine as a prototype of methylxanthine-produced dependence, examining, at the same time, the risks related to caffeine use.”

I for one suffer from caffeine withdrawl, getting symptoms such as headaches and irritability. The fact that caffeine abuse is a serious drug addiction is a scary concept. Though one would hope with less deadly consequences than other drug abuses, still the cycle of addiction, tolerance, dependence and withdrawl apply. Will we soon see Methylxanthine patches advertised on television and waiting in the aisles of local drugstores? Or is the solution as simple as getting a good night’s sleep once in a while?

2 thoughts on “The Caffeine Conundrum

  1. Ha! Good one. And did you see that the last of the “Edison bulbs” are being phased out for the new energy efficient ones? Not that it’s relevant…. and don’t forget to logout and use your name before you comment! 🙂


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