Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant widely used everywhere. Caffeine is found in coffee, chocolate, tea, coke, and energy drinks, soda, coffee-flavored frozen yogurt, ice-creams, chocolate flavored syrups, cocoa products, guarana fruit (Paullina), pain killers and in PMS tablets.

People usually drink coffee, tea, or other beverages to keep themselves cope up from fatigue, headache and mild level confabulations caused due to mental exhaustions. This is because caffeine acts as CNS stimulants, increase adrenaline levels in blood, triggering release of dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters.

For the same people feel alert, much focused, reduced need for falling asleep after consuming any caffeine products. The effects and benefits of caffeine use also differs according to its amount of intake. Intake of mild levels of such caffeine may cause positive pleasurable feel when consumed in the range of 150-300mg and not exceedingly more than that in a day. However according to DSM-5 exceeding 250mg intake signifies the person to be intoxicated.


Though caffeine intake helps an individual to feel wakeful gradually it triggers dependency on it. Most of the people who drink beverages would have felt this, though they drink them to keep up their stigma i.e., they can be active if and only if they drink the specific beverage at that respective time. 

Hence, this dependency creates susceptibility/tolerance for caffeine in human body thereby increasing in number of times the individual intake that specific beverage. Since this happens very gradually individual will take a while to get insight about their binge drinking. This insight now either lead that individual to drink more of it or reduce the number of intakes. However, both cause some sort of bodily symptoms and disorders.

Those bodily symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, psychomotor agitation, restlessness, flushed face, diuresis, muscle twitching, tingling fingers and toes, gastrointestinal distress. Along with physical symptoms caffeine induces psychological problems including experiences of light flash (visual hallucinations), confused thinking, irritability, anxiety, and agitation.


effects of caffeine

Effects of caffeine varies according to range in which it is taken and to the beverage in which it is associated. Caffeine belongs to methyl-xanthine class of alkaloids which is more potent than other forms of xanthine like: theobromine used in chocolates; theophylline used in Primatene (asthma inhaler – which is banned priorly, is now approved to use). A brewed cup of coffee contains 100-150mg caffeine whereas chocolate contains only 20-30mg caffeine.

  • As caffeine stimulates CNS, it inhibits adenosine receptors thereby increasing levels of cAMP in neurons and increase in levels of dopamine and noradrenergic receptors can cause psychotic symptoms.
  • Also, these stimulations may cause increased blood pressure and increased secretion of gastric acids in stomach.
  • As caffeine readily crosses blood brain barrier, causing decrease in cerebral blood flow and global cerebral vasoconstriction.
  • Caffeine withdrawal is associated with series of physical symptoms, craving for caffeine, muscle stiffness and seizures.
  • Over exceeding intake of caffeine can cause unpleasant feels like anxiety and nervousness. It can also be fatal when used under certain medical conditions.


Caffeine intake can be induced due to:

  • It’s placebo effect.  causes of caffeine addiction
  • It’s pharmacological effects.
  • Genetic predispositions.
  • Physiological dependency.
  • Stigmatized habit of regular intake.


  • Caffeine induces anxiety disorder – as it deals with triggering alertness, overuse of it can cause anxiety problems in individuals. Individuals likely to acquire generalized anxiety disorder when left untreated in the mild levels of anxiety issues.
  • Caffeine induces panic disorder – in relation to anxiety, people tend to have a panic feel because of over alertness.
  • Caffeine induces sleep disorder – in relation with caffeine’s pharmacological effects it becomes difficulty to fall asleep, to remain asleep, break less sound sleep and triggers a feel of incomplete sleep.
  • Caffeine induces mood disturbance – due to excessive release of dopamine neurotransmitter, individual may feel manic; over active; stressed when it is not duly attended/during withdrawal period.


mental health effects of caffeine intake


Caffeine is legal almost in all countries due to this it is considered under stimulant inducing drug and not as substance inducing drug. Even decaffeinated beverages like coffee contains very minimal amount of caffeine. So, using decaffeinated beverage as an alternative is also not much recommended.

Rather people can go for alternate food habits, reducing the amount of brewed beverages, introduction to other new tastes by replacing chocolate flavors in ice-creams; yogurts; and in pastries, changing the pain killers containing caffeine to caffeine free medicines with doctor/physician’s consult, alternative coping strategies with behavioral aids like noting the frequency of beverage intake; attending to the amount of caffeine present in them, maintaining a mental mind map of caffeinated products consumed per day also may help people to cut down the amount of caffeine consumption.

As like intoxication happens gradually, declining the intoxication also very much takes time. Stopping caffeine intake abruptly may cause withdrawal symptoms peaking within a day, so an average person can take 5-7 days for lowering the caffeine consumption.

Chicory coffee is used as an alternative for caffeinated coffee in many areas due to its resemblance on texture and smell. As like it many food alternatives are available which people can use, especially those who miss their caffeinated beverages after cut down, this may help them reduce their re-use of caffeinated beverages. This time for those who had serious conditions before decaffeinating may lead to remissions.

What do you think?

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Written by RAKSHAYA V

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