Caffeine withdrawal symptoms and self-administration following caffeine deprivation

Suzanne H. Mitchell, Harriet de Wit, James P. Zacny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of complete or partial caffeine deprivation on withdrawal symptomatology and self-administration of coffee in caffeine-dependent coffee drinkers. Nine habitual coffee drinkers abstained from dietary sources of caffeine for 33.5 h. Caffeine deprivation was manipulated by administering capsules containing 0%, 50%, or 100% of each subject's daily caffeine intake (complete, partial, and no deprivation conditions). Caffeine withdrawal symptomatology was measured using self-report questionnaires. Caffeine self-administration was measured using: i) the amount of coffee subjects earned on a series of concurrent random-ratio schedules that yielded coffee and money reinforcers; ii) the amount of earned coffee they consumed. Saliva samples revealed that subjects complied with the caffeine abstinence instructions. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms occurred reliably following complete caffeine deprivation, though not in the partial deprivation condition. Caffeine self-administration was not related to deprivation condition. We conclude that caffeine withdrawal symptomatology is not necessarily associated with increased caffeine consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-945
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Caffeine
  • Caffeine deprivation
  • Human
  • Random-ratio schedules
  • Self-administration
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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