Is caffeine addictive?--a review of the literature

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2006;32(4):493-502. doi: 10.1080/00952990600918965.


The common-sense use of the term addiction is that regular consumption is irresistible and that it creates problems. Caffeine use does not fit this profile. Its intake does no harm to the individual or to society and its users are not compelled to consume it. Though cessation of regular use may result in symptoms such as headache and lethargy, these are easily and reliably reversed by ingestion of caffeine. Some have argued that continued caffeine use is an attempt to suppress low grade withdrawal symptoms such as sleepiness and lethargy. In some moderate users, this is possible; however, in experimental contexts, the phenomenon is too inconsistent to constitute a reliably valid syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Caffeine*
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Humans
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Substance-Related Disorders*


  • Caffeine