As I write this, I’m sipping a flat white. It’s my third today and I have enough self-awareness to know that if I had gone this long into the day without coffee, I would be pretty grumpy. Having ingested approximately 480mg of caffeine, I’m already 20% over the US recommended daily intake for adults. In fact, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the American University, I’m suffering from “caffeine use disorder” and I need therapy.
Like many psychoactive substances, coffee will induce withdrawal symptoms if you stop consuming it. The researchers suggest that the resulting “headache, fatigue and flu-like symptoms” as well as the “anxiety, jitteriness, upset stomach and tense mood” are best dealt with using cognitive behavioural therapy. Patients on the “caffeine fading” programme that resulted from the research are given time with a trained therapist and sent home with a booklet of helpful hints.
Is jitteriness a symptom, or just a descriptor of modern life? And fatigue? I don’t know much about the working life of an American medical academic, but if they have kids and mortgages, then fatigue is also pretty much a given constant.