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CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL: Symptoms classified as mental disorder

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Most people crave a pick-me-up every now and again, but the crash that can follow a an energy drink, soda or cup of coffee may be more harmful than previously thought.

Some researchers are now classifying caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder, and quitting cold-turkey can be a challenge.

Theresa Hutch told FOX 9 News she went without caffeine for 40 days a few months ago, but it wasn't easy.

"A little bit of headaches," she recalled. "I think it's more of an emotional withdrawal -- like habitual."

While she's back to drinking coffee again now, the physical effects of coming off caffeine can be severe -- so much so that the American Psychiatric Association is putting caffeine withdrawal in the newest diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders -- albeit one that goes away relatively quickly.

"There are lots of things that are short-lived though," said Dr. Anne Pylkas, an addiction specialist.

Pylkas explained that while the symptoms were recognized in the past, the new designation is significant.

"It makes it more recognizable to people who maybe aren't experts in addiction," she said.

The APA says those who take in large quantities of caffeine can run afoul of a brief condition once it wears off, with symptoms that include fatigue, fogginess, headaches that may be debilitating and even depression. Furthermore, the organization says the condition can interview with job performance and life.

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