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How Addictive are Caffeine Pills & What are the Side Effects

by
author image Julie Boehlke
Julie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to camp with friends and family. Julie spends her free time writing, working on her novel and brewing up new recipes of wine—her newest hobby. She enjoys scouring junk shops and antique boutiques in search of rare finds and one of-a-kind treasures. She collects vintage dishes and antiquarian books. Julie spends her days being followed around aimlessly by her most adoring fan—Mushu the pug. She ventures out on weekends to the remote trails and deep north woods of Michigan. Julie also enjoys exploring out of the way nooks and crannies along the great lakes shoreline.
How Addictive are Caffeine Pills & What are the Side Effects
Most caffeine pills can be purchased over the counter. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Caffeine pills are stimulants used mainly to enhance awareness and boost energy levels. In some cases, caffeine pills may be used to control appetite. While caffeine in low doses is relatively harmless, if you have an underlying medical condition, combine your dose with other stimulants or take more than recommended, you could face severe side effects that may require hospitalization. In some cases, caffeine may be addictive.

Caffeine Pill Addiction

Caffeine pills are concentrated forms of caffeine and provide energy after they are swallowed. Pills range in dosage, but are generally sold over the counter between 100 and 250 mg. Caffeine pills are not classified as addictive, as other are stimulants such as heroin or cocaine, because they do not produce a compulsion for usage, explains the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. While not as addictive as some street drugs, caffeine pills can become habit forming because they are stimulants, provide energy and, in some cases, may alter moods. Because of the adverse side effects, most caffeine or energy pills display warning labels to the consumer.

Side Effects

The side effects of caffeine pills can range from mild to severe, depending on how many pills you have consumed. One pill of around 100 to 300 mg of caffeine will generally feel like you have consumed between two to four cups of coffee. At this point, you will begin to feel alert and more aware of your surroundings and will be able to focus and concentrate better. You may appreciate the sudden rush of energy and stimulation you get the first hour or two after a caffeine pill -- this sensation can easily trigger the need to want that feeling again, which can lead to addiction or possibly taking more pills than you should.

Precautions

Popping an additional caffeine pill to get more energy and stamina can be easy, but doing so can be dangerous. Consuming over 500 mg a day is considered heavy use. You may begin to experience extreme nervousness, insomnia, rapid or irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, nausea, irritability and restlessness. If you are taking other medications such as antibiotics or a bronchodilator, you could experience adverse side effects. If you have an underlying medical condition such as hyperthyroidism or an anxiety disorder, caffeine could make symptoms worse. If you take caffeine pills regularly or take more than recommended, the stimulation of the nervous system could raise heart rate and blood pressure enough that you would need emergency medical care.



Caffeine pills are sometimes used for weight loss. If you have an eating disorder, a caffeine pill may help curb appetite -- taking caffeine pills in this instance can be especially dangerous, especially if your nutritional intake is already minimal or compromised.

Solutions

You should consult with your medical doctor before taking caffeine pills. An underlying medical problem could be causing your tiredness or lethargy, therefore triggering your addiction or desire for caffeine pills. Low vitamin and thyroid levels as well as elevated blood sugar and anemia are possible causes for tiredness. Treating certain medical conditions along with following a healthy diet and getting daily exercise can help increase energy levels. If you are unable to stop taking caffeine pills, consult first with your medical doctor. He may recommend outpatient or residential drug treatment to assist with stopping pill use.

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