Caffeine and Suicide: A Systematic Review
Adriana Cardoso Silva, Natalia Pinho de Oliveira Ribeiro, Alexandre Rafael de Mello Schier, Valeska Martinho Pereira, Marina Machado Vilarim, Tamires Marinho Pessoa, Oscar Arias-Carrion, Sergio Machado and Antonio Egidio Nardi
Affiliation: Institute of Psychiatry - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Laboratory of Panic and Respiration. Rua Visconde de Piraja, 407/702. Rio de Janeiro, RJ. CEP 22410-003, Brazil.
Keywords: Caffeine, drug abuse, prevention, suicide.
Suicide is considered a deliberate act initiated and concluded by a person with full knowledge or expectation of
a fatal result, and one of the main symptoms of depression. An individual’s conscious and excessive ingestion of a
damaging substance is also considered to be an attempted suicide. Despite limited knowledge of caffeine abuse, deaths
from overdose of caffeine have been reported in the literature. Thus, this study aims to review the existing literature on
caffeine consumption and suicide attempts and deaths, investigating the relation between caffeine consumption and
suicide attempts and deaths. We found 24 studies that discuss the relationship between caffeine and suicide. The findings
revealed that, despite being an addictive substance and potentially fatal in higher doses, caffeine was still a rare factor in a
number of studies concerning its relation with suicide attempts and death. The majority of the research found in this study
was of the case study type. Furthermore, the majority of studies focus on the assistance offered to the victim and the
procedures undertaken to control the bodily damage created. The existing studies indicate the substance may act as either
a direct or an indirect agent in suicide. Therefore, a better understanding of how caffeine may be linked to suicide is
crucial for its prevention.
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