A response to the “Is caffeine withdrawal really a mental illness?” article.

Recently an article, from a Boston news source, about caffeine withdrawal becoming a part of the DSM-5 went viral. The article can be found  at http://www.bosto.com/lifestyle/health/blogs/daily-dose/2013/06/10/caffeine-withdrawal-really-mental-illness/1w3BI7OVgRqcYlf3YDt5PN/blog.html. I have some not so pleasant words to say about this article, but I will try to keep this as politically correct as possible. First of all, can reporters please keep their noses out of the stuff they do not understand.. Or at least have the decency not to call it news. In my opinion the article shined a very negative light on the idea it was covering, in a very inappropriate way. Including a poll to the pubic on whether caffeine withdrawal should be a mental illness or not, as if the average person knew anything about medicine. The comments on the online article are filled with nasty remarks about this just being a new way for doctors to line their pockets, Um, excuse me? please get your facts straight  before making such accusations. Having said that, this article makes me mad for three reasons:

1. I just don’t get what the fuss is about. Why does it matter? Are people scared because they think this means they could be crazy? Well get over it because you clearly don’t understand.

2. Mental illness does not always mean crazy as in the psychosis kind of crazy. Mental illness covers all illnesses of the brain. Just as saying I’m sick can mean you have a cold for a few days, mental illness can be short term. And honestly I can vouch for caffeine withdrawal giving you similar symptoms as anger management mixed up with anxiety.

3. The DSM-5 contains all mental illnesses not just the common or severe ones, and it being in the DSM-5 does not necessarily mean they medicate you for it either. Some of the entries in it often seem more like they should be symptoms then illnesses to the average person. But guess what, we are the average person. We certainly did not study medicine for years on end, and we can’t begin to act like we truly understand diagnosis codes.

So what is the problem with caffeine withdrawal being considered a illness? …nothing? That is what I thought. Please stop judging.

– Jenna Mackay


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