Caffeine-induced psychosis and a review of statutory approaches to involuntary intoxication

John K. Hearn, Thea Reiff, Anne B. McBride, Michael B. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Caffeine is the most commonly ingested psychoactive substance in the world. Although caffeine-use disorder is not recognized as a formal diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, five disorders related to caffeine use are enumerated therein. An evolving literature suggests that caffeine is one of many licit substances that may cause psychotic symptoms in higher doses. Here, we present a case in which a defendant ingested large quantities of caffeine, which result in transient psychosis and a successful affirmative defense of involuntary intoxication. The purpose of this article is to summarize states’ statutory approaches to involuntary intoxication, given that the term is defined variably, if defined at all. Evaluators must be careful to apply jurisdictionally appropriate standards in involuntary intoxication defenses because the bar for this total defense differs across localities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-383
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Caffeine-induced psychosis and a review of statutory approaches to involuntary intoxication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this