To many people this might seem a relatively trivial addiction. Caffeine is, however, a stimulant that many people consume vast quantities of daily. It is possibly because it is so widely used daily, that it has caused many of us to overlook its harmful side effects. There are however some clear side effects to this all too common addiction:

" The sufferer may experience fits of agitation and depression, loss of colour and a haggard appearance. Loss of appetite and symptoms of gastric catarrh. Severe trembling, shaking or quivering. Also causes the heart to pulsate or throb. The only cure is to take a further dose." Anon.

Caffeine is also known to contribute to irritability, diarrhoea and insomnia. The recommended daily dose of caffeine is, according to research, around 250mg, equivalent to roughly two to three cups of instant coffee/day. Dosages of above 500mg/day may bring on some of the symptoms listed above. *

Caffeine can also exacerbate some conditions, such as restless legs for example and the advice is that too much caffeine, too late at night can lead to difficulty sleeping for all!

The approximate levels of caffeine in some popular drinks are listed below. *

330ml can of Coke 11mg Cup of tea 30-60mg Instant coffee 75mg Ground coffee 75-150mg

* The facts and figures were obtained from a report published by a psychotherapist S. Callis, Addiction Today volume 10 No 57

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