How dangerous is caffeine addiction? Easily the most widely used recreational drug in the world, caffeine is regularly consumed by 85% of all adults and children in the United States according to one recent study and that figure is likely the same in most other countries. Average daily caffeine intake is estimated to be about 280 milligrams a day, the equivalent of two cups of coffee or seven 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soft drinks.
Usually considered harmless in low doses, caffeine can lead to serious health problems as well as complications in pregnancy. Caffeine intake greater than 400 milligrams can lead to symptoms such as “jitters”, increased heartbeat, nausea, anxiety, dizziness and even heart failure in cardiac cases. The symptoms can be even more severe in people with a caffeine allergy. While cases of caffeine overdose are relatively rare, there have been documented cases in countries around the world. Like any other drug, regular caffeine use can also lead to physical dependence which makes it hard to quit, even for health reasons.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post here.