Caffeine is a powerful drug with the addictive properties. Some people are unable to get up in the morning without a cup of coffee, others enjoy drinking other caffeinated beverages and young people particularly enjoy energy drinks with high levels of caffeine. The energy and alertness which kicks in helps people feel motivated to get on with work, pull an all nighter studying or simply do it for the ‘high’ of feeling hyper aware. A person who becomes addicted to caffeine experiences chemical changes in the body and mind. Learn more about relapse with caffeine and what to do if it seems difficult to kick the caffeine habit.
Consuming caffeine on a regular basis has drawbacks aside from perceived benefits of increased energy. When a person who is used to drinking caffeine (coffee, for instance) may experience side effects such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
Drinking just 100 milligrams of caffeine a day (eight-ounce cup of any drink) is enough to develop dependence and trigger withdrawal symptoms. To escape from withdrawal, some people opt to consume more caffeine to alleviate symptoms which can range in severity. Individuals who drink coffee to avoid feeling poorly are practicing withdrawal maintenance rather than enjoying any benefits of caffeine.
Studies over time have looked at how caffeine impacts the brain. When individuals were deprived of caffeine overnight, withdrawal symptoms began to kick in (which usually happens within twelve hours from last drink). Some of the individuals who received a stimulant noticed a disappearance of withdrawal symptoms while the others who did not receive a stimulant continued to be crabby and lethargic. The studied highlighted that the most beneficial effects of using caffeine occurred when used less often (which is not how most people consume caffeine). Scientific evidence seems to suggest mental performance and mood elevation with caffeine is illusory rather than reality. The extra alertness, therefore, that comes from a cup of joe may be just another withdrawal-maintenance mirage.
A person who experiences withdrawal from caffeine and seeks to stop using will experience many uncomfortable symptoms which can lead to relapse. Another factor to consider is that caffeine, coffee in particular, is a social and cultural phenomenon. Business, personal and other meetings are conducted in coffee shops, at dinner and in general conversation. Some like the taste of it and new ways to brew coffee have created sugary concoctions which increases dependence on drinks to boost performance, elevate mood and socially engage with others. Some people may even be advised to eliminate caffeine to boost health, help lose weight or support positive psychological well being but are unable to do so. Some triggers for relapse can include:
- Being around friends, co-workers and loved ones who use caffeine
- Walking or driving past places which sell caffeinated beverages
- Sights, sounds, smells of caffeine in the store, other people’s homes or in public
- Work, family or other stresses
Addiction to caffeine can have negative health consequences for an individual who is unable to quit. Help is available for individuals who need support in kicking the habit for good to recover from the caffeine habit.
Caffeine does not have to rule your life. If you are unable to quit drinking caffeinated beverages and need help, call now. The Villa provides therapeutic and medical support for individuals with addiction.