Caffeine addictions are very common and often overlooked. However, there are some terrible consequences that can come with a caffeine addiction. Many people all over the world drink caffein every single day. So, how do you determine if you have an addiction to caffeine or not?
In most cases, if an addiction is present, you will experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking caffeine. In this article, we will take a look at the effects of caffeine on the body, the withdrawal symptoms that you may expect if an addiction is present, and the signs to look out for to determine if a caffeine addiction is present.
What is a Caffeine Addiction?
Caffeine acts as a stimulant on the Central Nervous System. It has the ability to increase your metabolism, enhance concentration, and boost your mood. Whether it’s from soda drinks, tea, coffee, or energy drinks, many people feel the need to drink caffeine in the morning and throughout the day.
In the majority of cases, drinking caffeine is not harmful and remains quite a safe habit. However, there is a point when the line is crossed from a pleasant pick-me-up drink to an addiction where regular caffeine intake is necessary.
People can develop a caffeine addiction quite quickly. This is because of the chemical changes that occur with sustained consumption. When someone drinks caffeine daily, they will begin to develop a tolerance and, after a while, they will need to start consuming more and more caffeine in order to get the same results.
Similar to other addictions, people who suddenly stop drinking caffeine will experience some withdrawal symptoms and will have cravings for the substance. This causes a lot of people to relapse when they try to quit drinking caffeine, regardless of any consequences and health problems that may come with continuous consumption.
The Effects of Caffeine on The Body
Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system. It produces the same stimulations in the brain as things like energy, alertness, and gives you a sense of well-being, resulting in feelings of happiness.
Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. Some people’s brains may become more dependent on the substance than others. A dependency on caffeine can be cause by various factors and it’s often influenced by genetics.
Caffeine consumption comes with many side effects, including the following:
- Sleep problems
- Thought disturbances
- Difficulty with concentration
- Stomach aches
- Acid reflux
- Muscle twitches
- Social difficulties
- Cardiovascular problems
- Body pains
Caffeine is especially dangerous when consumed by children and adolescents.
The Withdrawal Symptoms of Caffeine
One of the most major signs of a caffeine addiction is the inability to function normally without caffeine. If you’re unable to get on with your daily life without having caffeine, you may be dependent on caffeine.
You may also realise you’re addicted to caffeine if you have tried to stop drinking caffeine but you’ve been unable to stop.
There are several physical withdrawal symptoms of caffeine. The most common type of withdrawal symptom from caffeine is a headache. However, there are some other potential symptoms, including the following:
- Low energy
- Lack of activeness
- Feeling foggy
- Decreased alertness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed feelings
- Overall bad mood
- Feelings of discontent
Some of the more serious effects of caffeine withdrawal may include nausea, vomiting, muscle stiffness or pains.
The withdrawal symptoms from caffeine will usually begin from around 12-24 hours after no caffeine. The peak time for withdrawal symptoms is usually around 20-51 hours after not having caffeine. The withdrawal effects from caffeine will usually last for around 2-9 days.
Signs of a Caffeine Addiction
Caffeine addiction is usually defined by the way the substance affects a person’s day-to-day functioning. The severity of a caffeine addiction is usually determined by how distressed the person feels when they want to have caffeine but can’t have it and how much the lack of caffeine affects their daily life.
If any of the following apply to you, then a caffeine addiction may be present:
- A persistent desire to drink caffeinated drinks
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop caffeine consumption
- Withdrawal effects experienced when caffeine intake is reduced or stopped
- Caffeine is consumed in larger amounts over time
- Caffeine is consumed over a longer period than intended
- Continued use of caffeine despite recurring problems associated with the substance
- Tolerance to the substance
- A lot of time spent on activities to obtain caffeine, consume caffeine, or recover from the effects of caffeine
- Craving caffeine
How to Lower Your Dependence on Caffeine
It has been found that many people who are extremely dependent on caffeine consumption can’t find a lot of treatment options to help them through this or they can’t find the professional help they need to overcome this type of addiction. If you are struggling with caffeine dependency, it’s always the best idea to speak to your doctor if you have concerns.
There are also several other things that you can do in order to lower your dependency on caffeine, including the following:
- Increase your intake of water
- Replace one caffeine drink each day with a caffeine free option. For example, if you usually consume three caffeinated drinks each day, replace one of these with something else such as a herbal tea or hot water with lemon
- Incorporate some exercise into your daily routine. Exercise is a natural stimulant for your central nervous system and your body.
If you believe you may have a caffeine dependency, you are not alone. There are many people all over the world who are also in the same situation. Being aware of this dependency is the first step if you want to alter your caffeine habits.
There are several lifestyle changes that you can make such as exercising and switching a caffeine drink with a caffeine-free drink. Try switching to herbal tea, for example, or try to cut your caffeine intake back to every other day instead of every day.