By Tess Gilfedder and produced for online by Kristy McMahon

A new survey by consumer research body Canastar Blue has found quitting caffeine is particularly hard for the Generation Y age group.

The online survey of 650 people, in particular young people, found they struggled with withdrawal symptoms when trying to reduce their caffeine intake.

Australian Medical Association federal president Dr Steve Hambleton says caffeine addiction is a serious problem.

“If you are getting that morning ‘I just can’t start the day without a coffee’ feeling you may well be dependent on caffeine in your system to function,” he says.

Dr Hambleton says Australians consume too much caffeine in our day-to-day lives and quitting is particularly difficult.

“Caffeine is a stimulant so you get the opposite effects when you get the withdrawals and certainly withdrawal headaches are one of the primary ones,” he says.

“Fatigue is another symptom which we see quite frequently, so people take the caffeine and of course it stimulates them again and it starts the cycle all over again.”

Professor Steve Allsop, director of Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute, says two or three cups of coffee a day is more than enough.

“Once you begin to drink more than that the risk of dependence and the risk of some adverse consequences increase,” he says.

He says in addition to headaches and fatigue, there are other health problems.

“Long term risks are impacts on your cardiovascular system so in particular increased blood pressure,” he says.

“There is the risk of kidney damage and of course a lot of people do suffer the ill-effect of sleep disorders that principally are affected by the amount of caffeine that they take.”