Caffeine use and dependence in adolescents: One-year follow-up

Joel V Oberstar, Gail A. Bernstein, Paul D. Thuras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The objectives were to conduct a 1-year follow-up of daily caffeine-using adolescents to further describe caffeine dependence symptoms and to determine whether caffeine dependence is associated with other substance dependence disorders. Twenty-one of 36 (58.3%) adolescents who participated in a study of caffeine dependence returned for follow-up. The previous study was a case series of adolescents who consumed caffeine daily and met some Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition) substance dependence criteria as applied to caffeine. At follow-up, caffeine consumption from beverages was 179.9 ± 151.8 mg/day. Of the 21 teenagers, 23.8% (n = 5) met criteria for caffeine dependence. Four of these participants developed caffeine dependence during the follow-up period. Other substance dependence disorders were not overrepresented in the caffeine dependent group compared to the caffeine nondependent group. The most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms in dependent teenagers (at baseline and follow-up combined) were feeling drowsy/tired, fatigued, or sluggish/slowed down (83.3% each) and headache (75.0%). Caffeine dependence occurs in some adolescents who drink caffeine daily and is marked by symptoms similar to those found in adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


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