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Type Psychoactive
Legal Status Not Controlled
Caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) is a mild central nervous system stimulant, and a diuretic. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the cherries (seeds) of the coffee plant, leaves of the tea bush as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut (cola). Caffeine is present in many over the counter medicines like Pro Plus to help relieve feelings of tiredness and fatigue, and may also be found in some slimming Tablets.
An acute overdose of caffeine, usually in excess of about 300 milligrams, (dependent on body weight and level of caffeine tolerance), can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication ("caffeine jitters"). The symptoms of caffeine intoxication are similar to Overdoses of other Stimulants and may include restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, flushing of the face, increased urination, gastrointestinal disturbances, muscle twitching, irritability, irregular or rapid heartbeat. In cases of much larger overdoses mania, disorientation, hallucinations and Psychosis can occur. In cases of extreme overdose, death can result. Achieving a lethal dose with caffeine would be difficult with regular coffee, but there have been reported deaths from overdosing on caffeine pills.
Short Term Effects
Caffeine causes mild stimulation, alertness and reduces feelings of tiredness, but it also may result in sleeplessness, tension, palpitations, and anxiousness. Caffeine taken in excess can cause flushing or chills, irritability, loss of appetite, weakness, tremor, tachycardia, vomiting, fever, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias, coma, and death.
Long Term Effects
Long term effects can include restlessness, acute anxiety, Dependence, Withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly, irritability, headaches, anxiety. Aggravation of the digestive system and heart problems. In large amounts, and especially over extended periods of time, caffeine can lead to a condition known as caffeinism. Caffeinism usually combines caffeine dependency with a range of physical and mental symptoms including nervousness, irritability, anxiety, muscle twitches, Insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, and high usage over time can lead to peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems as caffeine increases the production of stomach acid. There are four caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders: caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-related disorder not otherwise specified (NOS).
Death Data
Fatal caffeine poisoning is relatively rare, but several instances have been recorded, usually after accidental or intentional ingestion of very large amounts.