Evaluating the Validity of Caffeine Use Disorder

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015 Sep;17(9):74. doi: 10.1007/s11920-015-0611-z.


Caffeine use disorder is included in the conditions for further study section of the DSM-5. Caffeine's profile of neurobiological, behavioral, and clinical effects is similar to other common substances that humans use recreationally. Extant data suggest that a clinically meaningful addictive disorder develops in some regular caffeine users, but this literature is incomplete and not yet sufficient to determine if and how best to define and treat caffeine use disorder. An overview of the literature relevant to determining the clinical importance of problematic caffeine use is followed by discussion of potential concerns and benefits associated with its classification as a mental disorder. Concerns about overdiagnosis and trivialization of other psychiatric syndromes are weighed against the public health benefits of increased awareness and development of interventions targeting problematic caffeine use. This discussion includes consideration of alternative diagnostic approaches, improvement of assessment practices, and the need for additional clinical and epidemiological research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Concept Formation
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*


  • Caffeine