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Seen At 11: Coffee Dependence Could Be Sign Of Mental Disorder

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Your coffee craving could induce a temporary mental disorder, researchers say.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, “caffeine use disorder” is a condition that results from developing a physical dependence on caffeine. The reliance on caffeine is similar to what people experience who are hooked on drugs or alcohol, new research shows.

It’s a feeling coffee drinker Jessica Hayes said she knows all too well.

“It’s definitely something I fight with my myself all the time,” she said.

Hayes is not alone.

“People have come to us saying, ‘Yes, please help me. I believe my caffeine use is problematic,'” said Laura Juliano, an associate psychology professor at American University.

Juliano is among the researchers studying the health effects of caffeine and said, for some people, reliance on coffee can become a real psychological problem. She is now researching potential treatments, which may even include face-to-face counseling.

“It would be beneficial if treatment guidelines were developed in the same way that we’ve developed them for tobacco,” Juliano said.

“I would absolutely want help,” Hayes admitted. “If there were somebody who had some kind of cure, some kind of thing that would make me feel like I didn’t need it every day, I would absolutely take it.”

Charles O’Brien, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pennsylvania who heads a committee of doctors studying whether caffeine use disorder should be categorized as a mental illness, said more research is needed.

“For a use disorder, it would have to be people who are compulsively drinking coffee, and having it interfere with their behavior,” he said.

Anyone who is looking to reduce their caffeine intake should reduce consumption gradually and drink something else, such as water, when they feel the urge to grab a cup, experts said.

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