Many people wake up in the morning and turn to caffeine right away. It’s the power behind their day, the jolt that wakes them up. Indeed, caffeine is a stimulant, and a powerful one. No wonder 83% of American adults drink coffee. And in fact, this percent went up from 78% the year before, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey.
Caffeine is a psychoactive substance that stimulates the central nervous system and increases alertness and levels of energy. In fact, you could say that caffeine is a very mild form of cocaine. Caffeine can give you an energy boost and keep you from snoozing when you need to stay awake. In fact, caffeine is the most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world.
If you’re used to having your coffee or black tea in the morning and if you’re wondering about a possible caffeine addiction, here are some signs to look for:
Signs of withdrawals – Without their morning dose of caffeine, whether in coffee or other beverage, some men and women might experience a brain fog or headache. They might feel the absence of energy or lethargy. In fact, when a person experiences these symptoms, it’s likely that they are feeling the effects of caffeine withdrawal syndrome.
Signs of tolerance – When it takes more coffee or caffeine each morning to give you the same elevated feeling, this is an indication that your body is become tolerant or used to the level of caffeine. This means that the old amount of caffeine no longer stimulates your central nervous system as it used to.
Difficulty cutting down – Some people might want to end their use of caffeine because of the insomnia, frequent headaches, and lack of concentration that it can cause. However, if it feels hard to cut down or stop drinking caffeine, this might be a sign of addiction.
Continued use even when instructed by a doctor to stop – A classic sign of addiction is not being able to stop when you want. You might have even received instructions from a doctor or therapist to stop drinking caffeine, and yet you can’t. This is also a sign that a caffeine addiction may be present.
Although caffeine addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) does see caffeine addiction as a disorder. It’s important to take steps to get help in order to end an addiction to caffeine. In severe cases, people have overdosed on caffeine and have died.
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.
These are some beginning suggestions. Perhaps at some point, you’ll be able to quit drinking coffee or caffeine altogether. In the meantime, however, if you need professional assistance, contact your physician or mental health provider for support.
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