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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Caffeine Use as a Modulator of Mood, Emotions, and Neurocognitions

by Jonathan J. Hammersley, PhD 3 CE Credits

Caffeine is a very commonly used psychotropic substance, with the typical caffeine user consuming about the equivalent caffeine content of two cups of coffee per day on average. This fact is unsurprising, as clear influences have been examined and observed across a number of areas including mood (i.e., increased positive mood, decreased irritability); neurocognition (improved information processing, reduced distractibility); alertness (i.e., increased vigilance) and increased wakefulness.  Further, preexisting vulnerability to attentional deficits (e.g., ADHD) or emotional distress may predispose individuals to use or abuse caffeine as self-medication for these difficulties.  Due to the wide array of caffeine effects, and the extensive use of caffeinated substances worldwide, the effects of caffeine use and resulting withdrawal from caffeine abstinence are important topics for health care providers to understand.  This course explores and reviews relevant information and research on stimulant effects of caffeine, many of them similar to other commonly abused substances, and the mechanisms which may underlie such effects.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 3 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction: Prevalence of Caffeine Use and Relevance to Health Care Providers
  • Mechanisms of Action: Rates of Absorption and Metabolism
  • Caffeine and Body Physiology
  • Neurocognitive Effects of Caffeine
  • Caffeine & ADHD
  • Caffeine & Mood Effects
  • Conclusion: Caveats & Future Directions
  • Caffeine-related Web Links
  • References


Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Discuss the worldwide prevalence of caffeine use from a psychological and physiological viewpoint.
  • Describe the basic psychotropic effects of caffeine use and the 2 specific underlying mechanisms of action (neurochemically & neuroanatomically).
  • Recognize the impact of caffeine use and withdrawal on 3 areas of functioning (e.g., mood, cognition, and physiology), particularly as it relates to treatment in general and specific (ADHD) populations.
  • Summarize the current empirical limitations, clinical implications, and directions for future research.