Published on Jan 25, 2017 and last reviewed on Jun 29, 2019 - 2 min read
Use of caffeine rich food dates back to at-least 350 A.D. when the cultivation of tea started in China. Not only tea but consumption of Coffee also dates back to about middle of 17th century. Since then there has been no looking back and consumption of both tea and coffee has increased by leaps and bounds.
The importance of tea and coffee can be gauged by the fact none of us can think of starting our mornings without a cup of tea or coffee. But have you become addicted to caffeine?
How Does Caffeine Addiction Affect Your Health?
Addiction to Caffeine Can Cause Various Disorders:
1. Caffeine Induced Anxiety Disorder: Caffeine can cause myriad of anxiety symptoms including Panic Disorder, Obsessive compulsive disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia etc. The symptoms of such illnesses occur during or within 1 month of substance intoxication or withdrawal.
2. Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder: Caffeine might cause insomnia or lack of sleep. The closer caffeine is taken to bedtime, the more likely it is to produce disruptive effects on sleep. It has been shown in clinical trials that taking 2 cups of brewed coffee before bedtime delays sleep onset and total sleep time.
3. Caffeine Withdrawal: Caffeine might cause withdrawal when the intake is decreased or abruptly stopped. Symptoms include marked fatigue or depression, drowsiness, anxiety, depression, nausea or vomiting. Other symptoms include headache, tiredness, decreased energy, decreased attentiveness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muzzy/foggy head and flu like symptoms. Caffeine with drawl headache is the most common feature associated with caffeine.
How to Stop Problematic Caffeine Use?
Some self help tips to decrease or completely stop problematic caffeine use are:
1. Knowing Which Products Have Caffeine: Not only tea/Coffee but even products like Soft drinks, energy drinks, alcohol beverages and Chocolates also have large amount of caffeine
2. Self-monitoring of Daily Use of Caffeine Intake: It is very important to know the actual caffeine intake daily so that a realistic goal may be set up.
3. Setting a Goal: Unlike other substances, complete abstinence is not always the goal. But caffeine intake should be restricted to less than 50 mg/day in those who have been earlier diagnosed with caffeine dependence.
4. Write Your Own Plan And How You Wish to Go About It: Everybody should try to chalk out their individual plan on how they wish to decrease the caffeine intake. A reasonably well accepted plan is to reduce the amount by 25% per week.
5. Reinforcement for Abstinence: Award yourself for sticking to your goal plan. It could be anything like going out with friends (of course not to a coffee shop!), getting a gift for you etc, Positive reinforcement helps to a great extend
6. Identifying Barriers of Change: Sometimes there may be some other obstacles which might prevent you from completely stopping. Identify those obstacles and tackle them one by one.
7. Getting Professional Help: Sometimes when self help fails, it is always recommended to consult a Psychiatrist who could help you to get rid of your problem. (Get online therapy and counseling help at icliniq)
Caffeine, which is a white substance found in a lot of plants including coffee beans, cocoa beans, tea, etc., acts as a central nervous stimulant and helps us stay alert. Regular use results in mild physical dependence, which is called caffeine addiction.
If the reduction in coffee consumption results in headaches, fatigue, depression, drowsiness, or irritability, then these are signs of caffeine addiction.
It is best to slowly reduce the amount of caffeine you take. You should be aware of the presence of caffeine in all the beverages and tablet you consume. If you are addicted to coffee, then switch between decaf and regular coffee. Slowly increase the amount of decaf coffee, and finally, stop regular coffee. Stopping cold turkey might lead to severe withdrawal symptoms.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system making you alert and less tired. Even stopping one cup of coffee that you drink habitually every day might cause the following withdrawal symptoms:
If you quit drinking coffee, even a single cup in a day, withdrawal symptoms start within 12 to 24 hours. The peak occurs between 24 and 51 hours, and it can last almost a week.
Regular and long-term consumption of caffeine, for example, 4 cups of coffee every day, might have the following effects:
Rapid heart rate.
Before adenosine, which is a chemical found in the body that makes us sleepy and tired, can bind to the brain, caffeine which has a similar chemical structure binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain and keeps us awake.
Drinking 1 or 2 cups of coffee in a day does not seem to result in any heart problems. But, caffeine increases the adrenaline concentration in the body, which can result in increased heart rate. And due to its stimulatory action on the nervous system, it raises the blood pressure.
Some studies have found that caffeine and stress together can result in psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, anxiety, panic attacks, and delusions.
If you already suffer from anxiety disorders or panic attacks, consuming too much caffeine can worsen your symptoms.
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