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For Some, Caffeine Addiction Is Doubly Dangerous

(CBS) -- You want to cut back on caffeine, but you can't -- even if your doctor says you have to.

Now, new research is saying that dependence on caffeine is not just a physical issue. As CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez reports, it could be affecting us psychologically.

Jessica Hayes starts her day with a jolt of java and often refuels throughout the day.

"I feel like it helps me be more productive," she says.

The problem is Jessica has acid reflux, and her doctor has been telling her to cut back on caffeine. She knows it's not good for her, but she can't stop going back to her coffee.

"It's definitely something that I fight with myself all the time," she says.

A caffeine researcher, Professor Laura Juliano, says that may be because for some people the need for caffeine could be a psychological problem. It's being called Caffeine Use Disorder.

The American Psychiatric Association is calling for more study on Caffeine Use Disorder in its latest diagnostic manual called the DSM. Dr. Charles O'Brien was on the DSM committee.

"For a use disorder, it would have to be people who are compulsively drinking coffee and having it interfere with their behavior," he says.

Professor Juliano says she's seen cases where caffeine users felt so out of control that they have tried to find professional help.

"It would be beneficial if treatment guidelines were developed in the same way that we've developed them for tobacco," she says.

Treatment might be simple counseling, but one local addiction center we spoke with said some patients might go through detox followed by outpatient treatment.

Jessica says if treatment were available she would give it a try.

"I would absolutely want help," she says.

Juliano says there is a common misconception that caffeine is easy to give up, but studies have found that more than 50 percent of caffeine users say they've had trouble cutting back or quitting.

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