Can You Overdose on Caffeine Pills? - Garden State Treatment Center

Who doesn’t indulge in some morning caffeine? It’s the best part of waking up! Caffeine is generally safe and harmless and it would take a lot of coffee, soda, tea, or energy drinks to ever put you in danger of an overdose; caffeine pills on the other hand… could. Caffeine is a stimulant and affects your body in adverse ways if overindulged in, like any drug.

Can You Overdose on Caffeine Pills?

What are Caffeine Pills?

Caffeine pill purchases do not require a prescription or (usually) have age limitations and can be bought almost anywhere. Some examples of caffeine pills are:

  • Yellow Jackets
  • Vivarin
  • No-Doz
  • Craft
  • Lucidex
  • Stay Awake

With caffeinated drinks, it would take nearly constant consumption to reach any sort of dangerous level. But with over-the-counter pills, the likelihood of dangerous toxicity is greater since a large amount of caffeine is consumed and hits the body all at once.

How Much Caffeine is too Much?

It’s estimated that one cup of coffee contains an average of 100-150mg of caffeine per cup and that somewhere around 400mg, your body starts to have adverse effects (such as jitters and anxiety). Fortunately for coffee or energy drink lovers, the body would like to vomit up the liquid before it could have any real toxic effect. But with the pills, a toxic amount is ingestible with just a handful of capsules.

Is Caffeine Dangerous?

Death from a caffeine overdose is extremely rare. But the short answer to the question above is, yes. There have been at least 51 cases of death by overdose from caffeine. According to the National Institute of Health:

Caffeine is clearly not an innocuous compound and can cause significant toxicity and even lethality if sufficient quantities are consumed. (NIH)

Caffeine is a drug and can be dangerous especially for those with underlying heart or health issues such as arrhythmia. Who hasn’t felt the anxiety and increased heart rate after a strong cup of coffee? That can’t be good for the ticker!

Another factor that makes caffeine an inconsistent variable for medical professionals is the wide range of effects that the drug has on the bodies of individuals; it’s extremely hard to predict. Plenty of people could slam 5 red bulls in an hour and be fine. However, in an extreme case the other way, only about 2 cups of coffee sent one person into cardiac arrest. This factor makes it hard for doctors to predict how any individual will react to a high dose and what treatment they might need to recover.

However, most of the danger from caffeine is from its effect on the body during a vulnerable event such as driving or swimming. This is because the drug can affect fine motor skills and/or induce panic in stressful situations becoming especially dangerous on the road or while treading water.

What About Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Anyone who has used caffeine regularly and suddenly had to stop can tell you that the pain of caffeine withdrawal is real! This is because as tolerance to caffeine increases over time, the brain becomes dependent on caffeine and won’t be happy if it doesn’t get its daily fix! The most commonly reported symptom of caffeine detox is a wicked headache that can last anywhere from 2-9 days! Other withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Inability to focus
  • Body Pain
  • Upset Stomach
  • Grouchiness

Is Caffeine Addictive Though?

Caffeine is addictive in the fact that it increases dopamine levels in the brain. Although it’s not physically addictive, your body can have a dependence on caffeine. In this writer’s opinion, addiction to any substance is unhealthy and may open the door to further addictive behaviors down the line. If you or a loved one have an addiction to caffeine pills, Garden State Treatment Center can help you overcome it and detox safely.


Published on: 2021-03-19
Updated on: 2024-02-16