Psychiatrists are warning of the dangerous physiological impact of caffeine intoxication. The findings about the (temporary) mental impacts of caffeine overdose come from the list of mental disorders compiled by the American Psychiatric Association in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, and counselors use the DSM as an go-to guide for mental disorders.
Symptoms of the “disorder” include restlessness, nervousness, excitement, gastrointestinal upset, involuntary muscle twitching, rambling speech, rapid and irregular heartbeat, and sleeplessness. Caffeine intoxication had previously been listed as a disorder, but, in the latest edition of the DSM, it also includes the associated of caffeine withdrawal.
The stimulant caffeine – commonly found in coffee and in copious quantities in energy drinks – fuels 90 percent of lethargic Americans daily.
More than 97 percent of caffeine consumed by adults and teenagers comes from beverages, though caffeine can be found in food and over-the-counter products. It is the most predominantly consumed stimulant drug used worldwide. The average adult consumes about 300 mg caffeine per day.
Caffeine can have both positive and negative effects. Positively, it can increase attention and alertness, increase metabolic rate, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and stave off fatigue. Negatively, it can increase blood pressure, anxiety, and addiction.
Consistent intake, of more than 250 mg per day, leads to caffeinism – a dependency which can have unpleasantly adverse consequences if consumption ceases.
Withdraw can result in headaches and irritability. It is recommended caffeine be reduced leading up to bedtime as it can inhibit the body’s natural soporific process for sleep. Caffeine is rapidly absorbed and after eight to 10 hours 75 percent is gone. Thus, for best rest, excessive caffeine should be avoided six to 10 hours before going to bed.
If the caffeinated toothbrush becomes available, you’ll have to use it in after waking and use a different brush just before bedtime.
The drug is classified as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Surprisingly, people can suffer from acute caffeine toxicity – in doses that exceed 10 grams. If an overdose occurs, symptoms can include restlessness, increased heart palpitations, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, and in extreme situations cause cardiac arrest.
Notably, in 2007, James Stone, 19, died from cardiac arrest as a result of taking 25 to 30 No-Doz caffeine pills, the equivalent of 30 cups of coffee, in an effort to stay awake. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported energy drink related ER visits doubled from 2007 to 2011. However, 42 percent of these visits involved caffeine in combination with alcohol or other narcotics.
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