Skip to main content

Caffeine-Induced Psychosis

  • Dawson W. Hedges, Fu Lye Woon and Scott P. Hoopes

As a competitive adenosine antagonist, caffeine affects dopamine transmission and has been reported to worsen psychosis in people with schizophrenia and to cause psychosis in otherwise healthy people. We report of case of apparent chronic caffeine-induced psychosis characterized by delusions and paranoia in a 47-year-old man with high caffeine intake. The psychosis resolved within 7 weeks after lowering caffeine intake without use of antipsychotic medication. Clinicians might consider the possibility of caffeinism when evaluating chronic psychosis.

Corresponding author
Please direct all correspondence to: Dawson W. Hedges, MD, 1001 SWKT, Brigham Young University, Department of Psychology and the Neuroscience Center, Provo, UT 84602; Tel: 801422-6357; Fax: 801-422-0602; E-mail:
Hide All
1.Garrett, BE, Griffiths, RR. The role of dopamine in the behavioral effects of caffeine in animals and humans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1997;57:533541.
2.Fisone, G, Borgkvist, A, Usiello, A. Caffeine as a psychomotor stimulant: mechanism of action. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2004;61:857872.
3.Nehlig, A, Daval, JL, Debry, G. Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1992;17:139170.
4.Broderick, P, Benjamin, AB. Caffeine and psychiatric symptoms: a review. J Okla State Med Assoc. 2004;97:538542.
5.Nawrot, P, Jordan, S, Eastwood, J, Rotstein, J, Hugenholtz, A, Feeley, M. Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Addit Contam. 2003;20:130.
6.Kruger, A. Chronic psychiatric patients' use of caffeine: pharmacological effects and mechanisms. Psychol Rep. 1996;78(3 pt 1):915923.
7.Dews, PB, O'Brien, CP, Bergman, J. Caffeine: behavioral effects of withdrawal and related issues. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002;40:12571261.
8.Wesensten, NJ, Belenky, G, Kautz, MA, Thorne, DR, Reichardt, RM, Balkin TJ Maintaining alertness and performance during sleep deprivation: modafinil versus caffeine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002;159:238247.
9.Scott, WH Jr, Coyne, KM, Johnson, MM, Lausted, CG, Sahota, M, Johnson, AT. Effects of caffeine on performance of low intensity tasks. Percept Mot Skills. 2002;94:521532.
10.Yudofsky, SC, Silver, JM, Hales, RE. Pharmacologic management of aggression in the elderly. J Clin Psychiatry. 1990;51(suppl):2228.
11.Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed, text rev. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.
12.Lucas, PB, Pickar, D, Kelsoe, J, Rapaport, M, Pato, C, Hommer, D. Effects of the acute administration of caffeine in patients with schizophrenia, Biol Psychiatry. 1990;28:3540.
13.Dratcu, L, Grandison, A, McKay, G, Bamidele, A, Vasudevan, V. Clozapine-resistant psychosis, smoking, and caffeine: managing the neglected effects of substances that our patients consume every day. Am J Ther. 2007;14:314318.
14.Paluska, SA. Caffeine and exercise. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2003;2:213219.
15.Shaul, PW, Farrell, MK, Maloney, MJ. Caffeine toxicity as a cause of acute psychosis in anorexia nervosa. J Pediatr. 1984;105:493495.
16.Shen, WW, D'Souza, TC. Cola-induced psychotic organic brain syndrome. A case report. Rocky Mt Med J. 1979;76:312313.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

CNS Spectrums
  • ISSN: 1092-8529
  • EISSN: 2165-6509
  • URL: /core/journals/cns-spectrums
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed