Caffeine is a stimulant that many people around the world are addicted to. In fact, you could say that caffeine is a very mild form of cocaine. They are both stimulants. Caffeine is a psychoactive substance stimulates the central nervous system and can increase alertness and levels of energy. There are millions of Americans, for example, who take this stimulant each morning before work by having their regular dose of coffee. Taken in large amounts, caffeine can actually become deadly. And over time, this substance slowly weakens the immune system. Of course, some people who tend to drink coffee later in the day might find that the regular use of caffeine might disrupt their sleep schedule and may experience insomnia.
Despite these consequences, men and women drink coffee every morning. It’s almost part of the American tradition, and certainly it’s a part of the European tradition to have a small cup of espresso after a meal. Without their morning coffee, some people might experience a brain fog or headache. They might feel the absence of caffeine if they don’t have their typical amount of coffee or other caffeinated beverage. Of course, these symptoms are indicative of caffeine withdrawal syndrome, according to a recent study.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore and American University in Washington, D.C., reviewed 66 experimental and survey studies on caffeine withdrawal. They identified these common symptoms that might occur when an individual does not have their regular dose of caffeine:
- Fatigue or drowsiness.
- Depression and irritability.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Flu-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches.
In the study, researchers found that symptoms began 12 to 24 hours after stopping caffeine and these withdrawal symptoms peaked within one to two days. Some subjects reported symptoms that were so severe they couldn’t work. And in general, the study found that those who drank the most coffee tended to experience the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Yet, at the same time, even those who drank small amounts of coffee but who missed their daily does also experienced withdrawal symptoms. The participants of the study agreed that the motivation to continue to drink coffee was primarily to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Sadly, it’s not only the working class that might have an addiction to caffeine; some athletes might get hooked on the stimulant. If you’re not an athlete, you might not know that caffeine is a supplement used to enhance athletic performance. Caffeine helps burn fat, protect carbohydrate stores, and make you feel energized for an optimal performance in your sport. It’s easy for athletes to get hooked on caffeine, particularly because it’s so accepted by society, which making ingesting it easier. Yet, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned caffeine if too high an amount is found in an athlete’s urine sample.
If you’re not an athlete and you’re a heavy drinker of coffee or other caffeinated drinks, there’s a chance you might have a caffeine addiction. A few ways to tell is if
- You experience symptoms of withdrawal when you don’t drink coffee.
- You are becoming more and more tolerant, such that it requires more coffee each day to acquire the same effect on your body and mind.
Tolerance and withdrawal symptoms are strong indications that you might have an addiction. Furthermore if you experience the following symptoms, then it’s very likely that you have an addiction to caffeine:
- You experience insomnia, frequent headaches, or difficulty concentrating.
- You continue to use caffeine despite being told to stop by a health professional.
- You have difficulties cutting down or quitting even if you want to.
If you’d like to break your addiction, there are a few things you can do.
- You can drink more decaffeinated coffee.
- Brew your caffeinated teas for less amount of time.
- Drink lattes which have milk in them and can limit the amount of caffeine.
- Add more water or milk to your coffee.
A caffeine addiction can also be put to an end by working with a nutritionist. If you feel that your addiction to caffeine is not all that serious, you might simply consider other forms of drinks that are sugar and caffeine free, such as water and certain types of teas.
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