What happens if you overdose?

From Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-3-R (American Psychiatric Association, 1987):

Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder 305.90 Caffeine Intoxication

  1. Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250 mg.
  2. At least five of the following signs:
    1. restlessness
    2. nervousness
    3. excitement
    4. insomnia
    5. flushed face
    6. diuresis
    7. gastrointestinal disturbance
    8. muscle twitching
    9. rambling flow of thought and speech
    10. tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
    11. periods of inexhaustibility
    12. psychomotor agitation
  3. Not due to any physical or other mental disorder, such as an Anxiety Disorder.

Basically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very unpleasant but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However, People do die from it.

Toxic dose

The LD_50 of caffeine (that is the lethal dosage reported to kill 50% of the population) is estimated at 10 grams for oral administration. As it is usually the case, lethal dosage varies from individual to individual according to weight. Ingestion of 150mg/kg of caffeine seems to be the LD_50 for all people. That is, people weighting 50 kilos have an LD_50 of approx. 7.5 grams, people weighting 80 kilos have an LD_50 of about 12 grams.

In cups of coffee the LD_50 varies from 50 to 200 cups of coffee or about 50 vivarins (200mg each).

One exceptional case documents survival after ingesting 24 grams. The minimum lethal dose ever reported was 3.2 grams intravenously, this does not represent the oral MLD (minimum lethal dose).

In small children ingestion of 35 mg/kg can lead to moderate toxicity. The amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee is 50 - 200 mg. Infants metabolize caffeine very slowly.


  • Acute caffeine poisoning gives early symptoms of anorexia, tremor, and restlessness. Followed by nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, and confusion. Serious intoxication may cause delirium, seizures, supraventricular and ventricular tachyarrhythmias, hypokalemia, and hyperglycemia.
  • Chronic high-dose caffeine intake can lead to nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching, insomnia, palpitations and hyperreflexia. For blood testing, cross-reaction with theophylline assays will detect toxic amounts. (Method IA) Blood concentration of 1-10 mg/L is normal in coffee drinkers, while 80 mg/L has been associated with death.
  • Emergency Measures
    • Maintain the airway and assist ventilation. (See Appendix A)
    • Treat seizures & hypotension if they occur.
    • Hypokalemia usually goes away by itself.
    • Monitor Vital Signs.
  • Specific drugs & antidotes. Beta blockers effectively reverse cardiotoxic effects mediated by excessive beta-adrenergic stimulation. Treat hypotension or tachyarrhythmias with intravenous propanolol, .01 - .02 mg/kg. , or esmolol, .05 mg/kg , carefully titrated with low doses. Esmolol is preferred because of its short half life and low cardioselectivity.
  • Decontamination
    • Induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage.
    • Administer activated charcoal and cathartic.
    • Gut emptying is probably not needed if 1 2 are performed promptly.
Appendix A
Performing airway assistance.
  1. If no neck injury is suspected, place in the "Sniffing" position by tilting the head back and extending the front of the neck.
  2. Apply the "Jaw Thrust" to move the tongue out of the way without flexing the neck: Place thumb fingers from both hands under the back of the jaw and thrust the jaw forward so that the chin sticks out. This should also hurt the patient, allowing you to judge depth of coma. :)
  3. Tilt the head to the side to allow vomit and snot to drain out.

From conversations on alt.drugs.caffeine:

The toxic dose is going to vary from person to person, depending primarily on built-up tolerance. A couple people report swallowing 10 to 13 vivarin and ending up in the hospital with their stomaches pumped, while a few say they've taken that many and barely stayed awake.

A symptom lacking in the clinical manual but reported by at least two people on the net is a loss of motor ability: inability to move, speak, or even blink. The experience is consistently described as very unpleasant and not fun at all, even by those very familiar with caffeine nausea and headaches.


5 hour energy

I have found this post very helpful. I am a 29 year old adult male. I haven't had any caffeine in at least 6 months. This morning I was very tired after staying up to late last night. I had such a
busy day ahead of me at work, so I decided to try a 5 hour energy shot for the very first time. About 30 min after drinking it, I started feeling very dizzy, shaky, and light headed. I freaked out and had a panic attack. Luckily I was near
A doctors office, and I went in. They said it was a caffeine overdose. I drank lots of water and felt a little better a few hours later,
but still not great. I am now drinking a few beers to help calm my nerves. I'll never drink a 5 hour energy again!


Can you die from 2.5 cups of coffee if you are not a grown adult? (Not a child either, like 16) sorry that this is a stupid question...

Coffee helps to prevent diabetes

As i read in the comments above, coffee does help preventing diabetes. But too much coffee can also bring you others complications. An healthy body is a matter of balance. The key is an healthy diet to prevent developping diabetes.

inhibit hIAPP with coffee

Recently researchers have found that there are certain compounds in coffee that inhibit hIAPP (human islet amyloid polypeptide). It seems hIAPP is one of the causes for diabetes as it directly impacts the pancreas and the insulin producing capability.

But it makes diabetes worse

But it makes diabetes worse and makes blood sugar more difficult to control. It does that with normal subject as well.

How long are the effects felt after a panic attack?

I'm not a big caffeine person, only really consumed choclate and enjoyed the very odd coffe or tea. About a month ago I was sitting with a friend and I consumed about 5 cups of tea and totally lost it, and thought I was going to die. The effects of this first incident lasted about 5 days and then I thought I was coming back to reality. But then while eating dinner I swallowed a carrot that sort of got caught in my throat and that spawned a massive panic attack which at the time I didn't know what it was as I thought I was seriously going to die. The effects of that one lasted until I had another one about 3 days later which really came out of nowhere, nothing triggered it. Since then I have had some mild ones but nothing too dramatic. But the problem with me at the moment is I don't feel 100%, and have moments of unreality and a feeling that there is something not functioning properly within my brain. After the second panic attack I have ceased any caffiene and have been eating very well. I find it hard to concentrate for too long without that feeling creaping up on me which feels sometimes like my vital force is out of sync. Don't get me wrong, I can perform all my tasks but have this feel of I'm not really there. Please if there is anyone out there who could give me some knowledge on what I am going through that would be appreciated. I don't usually ask for help, but its been over a month now.

How to Handle Panic Attacks

So first let's validate what you are feeling.  It is real, and for some can resemble a stroke or heart attack.  So how do you manage?  Know your triggers, focus on other things, practice proper breathing exercises, WALK, WALK, WALK, and have an emergency backup plan AKA (anxiety medication).
As a busy working mom balancing work and life, I can tell you that the better you understand what sets in motion the attacks, the better equipped you will be to head them off at the pass.  You can control them, but you must be confident in that first.
Mind & Body: When the feeling comes open the window, drink/sip some water, call a friend, pray, breath, walk, meditate or even sing.
Triggers: STRESS!!!, caffeine, excitement (good news)...ect.
Managing: Maintain focus (on something else or the feeling will own you and take over).
Cut out triggers like coffee or sleeping pills (for a little bit). Make your doctor aware so that you can have a backup plan such as anxiety medication.
1. Panic attacks can be delayed and can come from something stressful from a week ago.  Basically try to manage your stress.
2. Walking regularly really puts those attacks in check.
3. Panic Disorder is a little more intense with loss of hearing, vision, and possible fainting. They may feel like a stroke or heart attack and at this point you should have some sort of medication for them.
4. Identify foods that trigger attacks and stay away from them.
5. Remind yourself that you are not going crazy and you will not die from a panic attack, why do I say this?  Because unfortunately during an attack you actually do feel like you are fading away similar to what folks describe as dying.  Once you have established that confidence and know you are not dying, you will be able to manage a panic attack that is already in progress.
Note: Not everyone experiences panic attacks the same way and not all of what is listed here will apply.
Hope this was helpful.


It can take a while it just depends all on the person .Everyone is diffrent my withdraw symptoms are slowly getting better . Around the 1st of this month Im pretty much caffine free except my 1 cup of coffie in the morning and thats it . When you have a panic attack it uses up all of your energy and you feel drained . You need to get plenty of rest which is easier said than done if you work alot. If you consume more caffine then you are used to it puts your body in to shock . The more caffine you in take gets the body going faster I realized . Caffine affects alot in your body your mind, cardiac , your sex drive, your appetite , how much peacefull rest you get. 

Still here

Thank you for your reply my friend. Well its been 10 weeks and I still have this thing in my mind that just sits there, and disempowers me from preforming all that I would like to do. I haven't had a panic attack since my first message, or haven't touched any caffeine, but this thing in my mind is still there waiting for another attack to come. Is this normal for anyone out there who suffers from panic attacks? My diet has always been healthy and remains that way, I'm really not sure what to do, I just want to go back to normal. Personally I've had enough, so if there is anyone out there who can help me get over this, then I'm all ears.

Jason, I went through the

I went through the EXACT same thing. Just like you, I wasn't much of a coffee drinker. But I started drinking it regularly over a few weeks and I ended up feeling like that EXACTLY. I felt disconnected from everything, like I wasn't really there and couldn't get excited about anything (not even seeing my favourite band live, or taking a trip with my friends). I also panicked a lot and experienced may of the above symptoms in this article. But guess what, I managed to find a cure!!!
I went to a homeopath and got soemthing called Nux Vomica, which was meant to get rif of the caffeine. You could also try somethign called "coffeea cruda". Basically, the Nux Vomica gets the caffeine out and the coffeea cruda produces effects that are the opposite of coffee (it makes you calmer). This stuff seriously saved my life! Let me know how you go :-) 

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