Getting the Straight Story on Caffeine


Many people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms and are unable to reduce caffeine consumption even if they have another condition that may be impacted by it – such as a pregnancy, a heart condition, or a bleeding disorder. These symptoms combined describe a condition called “Caffeine Use Disorder.”

Caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world – it is found in everything from coffee, tea, and soda, to OTC pain relievers, chocolate, and now a whole host of food and beverage products branded with some form of the word “energy.” But jumping to the conclusion that caffeine use is problematic and requires treatment may be premature.

American University psychology professor Laura Juliano notes, “Many people can consume caffeine without harm, for some it produces negative effects.”

Part of the problem is that caffeine is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines. So well so that manufacturers are not required to label caffeine amounts and some products such as energy drinks do not have regulated limits on caffeine.

So not only do we frequently not know how much caffeine we are ingesting, we are also unclear as to its potential negative effects. On the other side of the equation, we do know that caffeine can have positive effects. It acts as a stimulant, thereby increasing athletic performance and mental alertness, and possibly aiding weight loss.

So what are clinicians to believe? And what are they to advise their clients? That answer often depends on the client. Some diagnoses are better helped by caffeine use while others seem to be negatively affected by the use of caffeine. Reviewing the most recent research on caffeine will help clinicians better understand just which diagnoses respond more positively to caffeine use and which ones could potentially be harmed by an elevated caffeine intake.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE/CEU) Course:

Caffeine and HealthCaffeine and Health is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course that analyzes the potential health benefits, as well as the negative side effects, of caffeine consumption on a variety of health conditions.

Caffeine is a rapidly absorbed organic compound that acts as a stimulant in the human body. The average amount of caffeine consumed in the US is approximately 300 mg per person per day – the equivalent to between two and four cups of coffee – with coffee accounting for about three-fourths of the caffeine that is consumed in the American dietThis is considered to be a moderate caffeine intake, which, according to many studies, can promote a variety of health benefits.

But some studies claim otherwise, even suggesting that one or two cups of coffee a day may negatively impact our health. So, what are we to believe?

This course will analyze the potential health benefits, as well as the negative side effects, of caffeine consumption on a variety of health conditions, including: dementia and Alzheimer’s diseaseheadachecancerParkinson’s diseasegallstonescardiovascular diseasehypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, fibrocystic breast conditions, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy and lactationosteoporosis, athletic performance, and weight control. Course #10-96 | 2016 | 15 pages | 12 posttest questions

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

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