Previous investigations have identified individuals who meet criteria for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) substance dependence as applied to caffeine, but there is little research on treatments for caffeine dependence. This study aimed to thoroughly characterize individuals who are seeking treatment for problematic caffeine use. Ninety-four individuals who identified as being psychologically or physically dependent on caffeine, or who had tried unsuccessfully to modify caffeine consumption participated in a face-to-face diagnostic clinical interview. They also completed measures concerning caffeine use and quitting history, reasons for seeking treatment, and standardized self-report measures of psychological functioning. Caffeine treatment seekers (mean age 41 years, 55% women) consumed an average of 548 mg caffeine per day. The primary source of caffeine was coffee for 50% of the sample and soft drinks for 37%. Eighty-eight percent reported prior serious attempts to modify caffeine use (mean 2.7 prior attempts), and 43% reported being advised by a medical professional to reduce or eliminate caffeine. Ninety-three percent met criteria for caffeine dependence when generic DSM-IV-TR substance dependence criteria were applied to caffeine use. The most commonly endorsed criteria were withdrawal (96%), persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to control use (89%), and use despite knowledge of physical or psychological problems caused by caffeine (87%). The most common reasons for wanting to modify caffeine use were health-related (59%) and not wanting to be dependent on caffeine (35%). This investigation reveals that there are individuals with problematic caffeine use who are seeking treatment and suggests that there is a need for effective caffeine dependence treatments.
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