DSM's Latest Mental Disorder: Caffeine Withdrawal
Must have 3 of 5 symptoms, according to DSM-5
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2013 12:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you've ever gone a day without caffeine and felt like you were going insane, well, you may not have been far off. The American Psychiatric Association has added caffeine withdrawal to the latest version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. To be officially diagnosed, you must have at least three of these five symptoms within a day of quitting or reducing caffeine: headache, fatigue or drowsiness, depressed mood or irritability, difficulty concentrating, or flulike symptoms. And those symptoms must cause "clinically significant distress or impairment," meaning they must affect your ability to function.

The DSM-5 also lists caffeine intoxication as a mental disorder, but that had already been included in a previous version. And caffeine use disorder (basically, an inability to quit caffeine due to side effects when you try) was added to the DSM-5 as a research diagnosis, meaning it needs further study before being included as a full diagnosis. All three are controversial, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Caffeine intoxication and withdrawal both occur fairly frequently but only rarely cause enough clinically significant impairment to be considered a mental disorder," says the chair of the task force that developed the previous version of the DSM. "We shouldn't medicalize every aspect of life and turn everyone into a patient."

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Jun 25, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
The Bible of a pseudo-science strikes again. Will the DSM-5 next list "withdrawal from therapy" as a medical condition? The cure, I suppose, will be more 50 minute hours, and more mood-altering drugs.
Jun 12, 2013 10:20 PM CDT
The good news is that anyone with half a brain stopped taking the DSM seriously years ago. The bad news is that most people don't even have half a brain. Stupid. I wonder what pill they'll push to cure this nonexistent 'illness'? I'll pretend to have it, if they'll throw me some oxy or xanax. WTF, I'll play along with their stupid little games. Wait, its amphetamines, right? If lack of coffee makes me tired, they'll cure me with some pharma-speed, right? Oh hells yeah, I'm going in for a scrip tomorrow!
Jun 12, 2013 8:42 PM CDT
Shouldn't medicalize everything? Well why not? Without a medical diagnosis pharmaceutical companies can't make drugs to combat it and then they won't make any money. The goal there is to get EVERYONE on SOME kind of medication for SOMEthing. No matter how minor or ridiculous. I get a kick out of the latest ailment to command major ad space SHINGLES. GET YOUR SHINGLES VACCINE TODAY! YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES SHINGLES! There's no epidemic of shingles going around and most people who have the virus don't get it.Therefore no need for mass vaccinations. It's all scare tactics.