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Caffeine: Psychological effects, use and abuse

Author(s): Bolton S, Null G

Abstract

Caffeine, probably the most widely used drug, affects the psychological state of those who consume it. Abuse results in symptoms of caffeinism which include agitation, disorientation and a syndrome which may be mistaken for anxiety/neurosis. It is a habit forming drug in which tolerance develops. It affects sleep in a dose related manner which is dependent on the daily caffeine intake, i.e., high users have less effect. Its central nervous system stimulation can cause pleasant effects with improved attention and concentration at lower doses. At high doses, the reverse may occur. Used judiciously, it may be a useful therapy in the treatment of hyperkinetic children. These and other effects of caffeine are discussed in this review article.

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