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DSM 5 Lists Caffeine Intoxication and Withdrawal as Disorders

May 31, 2013 02:55 PM EDT
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With the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) out, people are taking a look at some of its changes. Among them are two new disorders: caffeine intoxication and withdrawal.

That's right - by being promoted to a DSM-listing, a buzz from one’s morning coffee now joins the likes of heroin use and alcohol dependence – and not everyone is happy.

According to Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, the move represents “overreaching” by the manual's authors who are looking to “pathologize every American.”

However, the latest DSM does include the clause that in the case of intoxication, symptoms must be such that it impairs the person’s ability to function.

Still, as clinical psychologist and co-author of the psychology textbook “Abnormal Psychology” Robin Rosenberg told LiveScience, “The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are transitory, they take care of themselves.”

Ultimatley, though, Albow’s concerns don’t stop in terms of the medical world, adding “Medicare and Medicaid, beware.”

In the opposite corner defending the decision is Alan Budney, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and one of those who helped design the new DSM.

“Caffeine is invading our society more and more,” he told Medscape Medical News in 2011. “So there’s concern enough to consider this topic seriously, even though it’s probably one of the more controversial issues faced by our work group.”

According to the National Institute of Health, it is possible for someone to experience a caffeine overdose after consuming more than the recommended dose of the substance, with symptoms including breathing trouble breathing, changes in alertness, confusion, convulsions, vomiting, fever and hallucinations, among others.

Furthermore, as of late 2012, federal officials reported receiving accounts of 13 deaths over the previous four years that cited possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy, according to The New York Times, including a spontaneous abortion.

Around the same time, the Food and Drug Administration also reported five cases of individuals who may have died between 2009 and 2012 due to overconsumption of Monster Energy, including a 14-year-old girl who passed away from a heart arrhythmia after drinking large cans of the beverage on two consecutive days, the Times further reported.

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