Caffeine Addiction

Ask the Raffles Medical Group Experts


I like to drink coffee very much. It has become a habit that causes me to grab a cup of it every morning in order to stay more alert or awake for the rest of the day. However, I am not too sure whether there’s a limit to how much caffeine a person can consume a day. What will happen if one has an overdose of it? Is too much caffeine bad for health and is there any substitute for it to help one feel more energetic?


Caffeine is a mild stimulant which is present in coffee, tea and certain “energy drinks”. It is not addictive, but it can be habit forming. Caffeine is relatively safe if consumed in moderate quantity (i.e not more than 300mg or about 3 cups of coffee a day). However, excessive intake can lead to palpitation, increase in blood pressure, dehydration, and adverse behavioural and cognitive effects.

The health effects of habitual caffeine consumption remain uncertain. Initial response to caffeine consumption may include feeling more alert and less tired. But, with chronic exposure, these stimulant effects wane and performance deteriorates when habitual caffeine drinkers are caffeine depleted.

A good substitute to caffeine to help keep energy levels up is regular exercise. It is the opposite of caffeine in that it may result in initial tiredness in sedentary people who start to exercise, but within weeks, regular exercise would increase energy level and reduce fatigue. Nothing beats exercise and healthy diet.