When you think of the word caffeine, you think of coffee. You think of something that keeps you up for late-night studying. But, what you don’t think of is a drug, withdrawal, and addiction. This is a topic that is not as common, but caffeine addiction can severely affect your life… in a bad way. But, how does it get to such a degree and how can it be avoided?
Caffeine is the most widely available and used drug worldwide. Around 75% – 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeinated beverages on a regular basis. Caffeine consumption rises with age in the United States, culminating in the 50 – 64 age group. Caffeine can appear in many items you might not even think would have it. In Africa and Asia, caffeine is consumed much more often in items such as soda and tea. That means every time you pop open that sweet can of Coke, you are also loading up on not so sweet caffeine. Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, carbonated soft drinks, and teas.
Now this is by no means to say caffeine is not safe, it completely is. In fact, this plant-derived stimulant has been linked to increased mood, headache relief, and possibly a lower chance of various severe medical conditions like strokes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. But it gets dangerous when you start consuming large amounts of it despite knowing that you shouldn’t or when you drink it and cannot stop. Dizziness, headache, racing heart, and sleep issues all mark the beginning of this widespread addiction. In a recent trip I had gone on, I went around to select schools and asked undergraduate and graduate students on their coffee habits and consumption. Out of the 49 people I asked (36 male, 13 female), 36 percent of guys drank coffee on a regular basis, and about 84 percent of the females drank coffee. Of these people, almost all of them drank it everyday.
These symptoms are commonly mistaken as other illnesses. Some of these illnesses include: manic episodes, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, sleep disorders, migraines, sinus infections, etc. Crazy right? Now, if you think you actually are going through caffeine addiction, there are multiple ways to stop or decrease your caffeine intake.
- Evaluate the amount of caffeine you consume on a daily basis. Gourmet espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos often contain more caffeine than conventional drip or instant coffee, cola, and other caffeine-containing meals and beverages. As a result, when determining your regular intake, keep this in mind.
- Increase your water intake. You probably hear this a lot, but you hear it a lot for a reason. As well as helping with caffeine intake, it comes with a whole grocery list of other benefits, such as controlling calories, giving healthy and smooth skin, and helping your kidneys.
- Pay attention to your emotions. Keep track of any negative effects you experience after ingesting caffeine. Take note of any negative effects you experience if you reduce your caffeine intake or avoid it totally. For a more complete picture of how its use affects you, pay attention to both mental and physical impacts.
Now, if you think you might have caffeine addiction, you shouldn’t worry. This is one of the most common problems; you’re not alone. The first step to change is always to be conscious of the problem. Cutting down on caffeine can help you get back in touch with yourself and help you in your relationships. If someone you know is going through a caffeine addiction or withdrawal you can always contact a dedicated treatment provider and learn about treatment options. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.