About 90 percent of American adults take caffeine daily. Half or more of them are subject to caffeine withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get a fix, including headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, depression and irritability.
This may not seem like much of a problem because caffeine and coffee users are like Charlton Heston and his guns: They’ll give up caffeine when someone takes their coffee from their cold, dead hands.
Many people don’t even realize they have a physical dependence to caffeine because their consumption of it is so regular. If they don’t give up caffeine they don’t experience those bad symptoms and others, including difficulty concentrating, difficulty doing regular tasks at work, anxiety, muscle aches, nausea and cognitive and psychomotor impairments.
If you’re on social media for an hour you’ll notice the coffee memes. People kid around about how serious they are about their coffee, but in cafe veritas:
Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit did a fact sheet (PDF here) on caffeine dependence that calls it the most common mood-altering substance used in the world.
The fact sheets states:
The mood altering effects of caffeine depend on the amount of caffeine consumed and whether the individual is physically dependent on or tolerant to caffeine. In caffeine non-users or intermittent users, low dietary doses of caffeine (20-200 mg) generally produce positive mood effects such as increased well-being, happiness, energetic arousal, alertness, and sociability. Among daily caffeine consumers, much of the positive mood effect experienced with consumption of caffeine in the morning after overnight abstinence is due to suppression of a low-grade withdrawal symptoms such as sleepiness and lethargy (see section on Caffeine Withdrawal). Large caffeine doses (200 mg or greater) may produce negative mood effects. Although generally mild and brief, these effects include increased anxiety, nervousness, jitteriness, and upset stomach. However, individual differences in sensitivity and tolerance affect the severity and likelihood of experiencing negative effects.
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms may strike people who have doses as low as 100 milligrams a day. That’s equal to about 6 ounces of brewed coffee or two cans of soda. Experiments have shown that about half regular drinkers of coffee or consumers of caffeine in other products get withdrawal headaches when they abstain.
“When all withdrawal symptoms are considered, the incidence of caffeine withdrawal is higher,” the Johns Hopkins fact sheet states. “In a population-based random digit dial telephone survey study, 40 to 70% of individuals who tried to quit caffeine use reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
People who consume caffeine may be unaware of their physical dependence on the chemical because they get caffeine every day. Also, low doses, as little as 25 mg, can prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring. So a caffeine “addict” may forego his usual three cups of coffee but get enough caffeine from a chocolate bar or energy bar to forestall the worst symptoms.
“Thus, some people may report never experiencing withdrawal because they unknowingly consumed small amounts of caffeine on days they thought they had been caffeine free. Finally, caffeine withdrawal symptoms (e.g., headache, nausea, muscle aches) may be misattributed to other causes or ailments (e.g., viral infection),” Johns Hopkins states.
Viter Energy doesn’t want to seem alarmist about caffeine. We love it. If you read the Johns Hopkins fact sheet it’s like reading about a controlled substance such as a narcotic drug.
WebMd has an article, on the other hand, that states:
Caffeine Myth No. 1: Caffeine Is Addictive
This one has some truth to it, depending on what you mean by “addictive.” Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn’t threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do. (Although after seeing your monthly spending at the coffee shop, you might disagree!)
If you stop taking caffeine abruptly, you may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if you consume two or more cups of coffee a day. …
No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause the severity of withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors as street drugs or alcohol. For this reason, most experts don’t consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction.
Still, the American Psychiatric Association lists caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
“Caffeine use can be associated with several distinct psychiatric syndromes: caffeine intoxication, caffeine withdrawal, caffeine dependence, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-induced anxiety disorder,” the Johns Hopkins fact sheet says.
The good news is caffeine does not threaten consumers’ health as far as cancer, heart disease or reproductive problems, though some types of coffee have lipids that may raise cholesterol. Also there may be a link between taking large amounts of caffeine and delayed conception and lower weight of babies at birth.
People may want to try to quit caffeine for several reasons. Some don’t want to have to be tied to a routine where they must get their two or three cups of java, tea or soda at certain times of the day. Others may balk at being classified as an addict of any kind. Still others may be pregnant and don’t want to risk their baby being underweight at birth.
If you want to cut the caffeine out of your diet, CaffeineInformer.com has some tips on getting off of it:
• Reduce caffeine consumption gradually. From experience, if you reduce your caffeine by half one week, and half again the next week, and then cut it out altogether, you may avoid headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. In the past, I’ve cut my coffee with one-half decaf for one week, and then drunk tea for one week and then stopped altogether and have avoided any physical symptoms.
• Take pain relievers.
• Drink water.
• Get exercise.
• Rest when tired.
• Eat healthfully.
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The holidays are upon us. It’s only October but with the rate this year has gotten to the tail-end, we’ll all be wearing our favorite sweatshirts (forcibly or otherwise) and devouring the holiday away in no time.
The forward-looking you will already be starting to watch that *extra holiday weight* before the holiday even starts.
But one step at a time, right? After all, there’s a few weeks left before the celebrations and holiday parties officially kick in.
If the java lover in you has ever been curious whether caffeine can help curb the appetite, now is the perfect time to find some answers.
The word on the street is that caffeine is one of the best appetite suppressants.
Spoiler alert: researches tell us the jury’s still out on this one.
Have you been drinking coffee for years and starting to feel weird sensations after a cuppa? You’ve got to know something.
If you suddenly find yourself going through unusual post-caffeine effects such as anxiety, headache, faster heartbeat and tremors, you may be experiencing a shift in how your body metabolizes caffeine.
Two words: caffeine sensitivity.
Caffeine sensitivity is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s all a matter of our body adapting to caffeine in our system.
However, if all of a sudden you start to feel things that didn’t use to happen after having your caffeine fix, then it’s time to watch that caffeine intake!
What if I tell you that aside from perking you up, caffeine can also help you concentrate and become more productive?
If, during mind-numbing, brain-wracking moments, you want to feel like Popeye going for a whole can of spinach, just reach out for the coffee-maker and you’re likely to feel the same! (For the best java experience, know when’s the best time to drink your coffee here.)
Caffeine can also help you absorb information and remember them more efficiently.
Yep! Our favorite stimulant can boost mental performance in more ways than one. Have a cuppa and you’ll find yourself retaining more information from classes and business meetings, kill it in planning and problem-solving, and finish those day-to-day tasks efficiently.
Without further ado, here are 8 ways caffeine can help us take a step closer to becoming Einstein-genius: