What To Know About Caffeine Addiction
Caffeine addiction is a pretty common thing. Check out this guide on recognizing if you’re addicted and how to cut back on your caffeine consumption.
Most of us realize that recreational drugs and alcohol can easily become addicting, but other potentially addictive substances are a little more subtle. For those who are wondering, “Is caffeine bad?” the answer isn’t cut-and-dry. Some people have no problems with occasional caffeine use. But for others, caffeine can become addicting.
For avid caffeine consumers, there could be both short-term and long-term consequences. Here are a few things we should all know about caffeine addiction, how it can negatively impact health, and how to find alternative sources of lasting energy (such as Herpower!)
Am I Too Dependent on Caffeine?
A cup of regular coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine content (though this amount can vary depending on the type and amount of coffee consumed). Energy drinks contain even more caffeine than that (as much as 242 mg of caffeine per serving!) If you’re drinking more than 300 mg of caffeine per day, you might have developed caffeine dependence.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Is caffeine addictive?” you can quickly find out the answer to that question by trying to suddenly quit caffeine consumption when you currently drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day. You’ll experience a variety of caffeine withdrawal symptoms that will clearly indicate a level of caffeine dependency you didn’t know you had.
As with any drug addiction or food addiction, caffeine addiction can be harmful to your physical and mental health. We’ll go over the specific dangers of consuming too much caffeine and give you tips for how you can overcome your coffee drinking habit.
What Are the Symptoms of Too Much Caffeine?
Whether you have caffeine addiction or not, drinking too much of the stuff can cause some unwanted symptoms. Here are a few indications you are experiencing caffeine intoxication and may need to cut back on your coffee consumption:
- Increased heartbeat
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Trouble sleeping
- Chest pain
If you develop these symptoms and withdrawal problems, your body is probably trying to tell you it can’t handle any more caffeine ingestion for a while. You should try to stop or at least slow down your soft drink and coffee consumption so the above symptoms can subside and your body can adjust to life without the harmful effects of constant caffeine stimulation.
How Does Caffeine Harm My Body?
Too much caffeine can overwhelm the central nervous system and cause unwanted symptoms. In addition to mild symptoms such as caffeine headaches and frequent urination, too much of any caffeinated beverage can cause more serious symptoms as well.
Some potentially life-threatening symptoms associated with drinking more caffeine than your body can handle include:
- Trouble breathing
- Vomiting blood
- Abnormal heart rhythm
Fortunately, serious symptoms like these are rare (though they are becoming more common, thanks to the continued popularity of energy drinks that contain much more caffeine than the body is designed to handle at once). If you experience any of the above symptoms after taking a caffeine pill or drinking coffee or energy drinks, get medical attention as soon as possible.
For most people, drinking too much caffeine harms the body in subtler ways. For example, caffeine is a diuretic. This means that it can cause your body to lose more water than it normally would. As a result, exorbitant caffeine consumption can lead to dehydration and all the problems that come with it.
Another problem associated with excessive caffeine use is calcium absorption interference. Since calcium is important for bone health, excessive caffeine intake could potentially lead to weaker bones.
Caffeine is also known to disrupt regular sleeping patterns. This becomes even more likely if you consume caffeine late in the afternoon or right before you go to sleep. Since it is a stimulant, caffeine can make it very challenging to get quality sleep at night. In addition to making it harder to fall asleep initially, caffeine can prevent your body from cycling through the normal stages of sleep.
As if all of that weren’t enough, coffee addiction has also been linked to increased blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the risk factors associated with heart disease, so it’s important to try to keep it in the normal range. Cutting back on your caffeine intake is one way to potentially lower your blood pressure and take better care of your heart.
How Does Caffeine Harm My Mental Health?
In addition to harming your physical health, excessive caffeine use can also harm your mental health. Its intake is associated with mental disorder development, such as anxiety and sleep disorders, increased hostility, and even psychotic symptoms.
Often, people who consume too much caffeine don’t realize the impact it’s having on their mental health. They may seek treatment for the symptoms instead of the underlying cause of the symptoms.
Being dependent on any substance can also take a toll on mental health. People with caffeine addiction are often stressed and mentally preoccupied with how they’ll get enough caffeine to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Can I Crash on Caffeine?
Since caffeine is a stimulant, it helps “wake up” the nervous system. Though this can be helpful when you need energy in the morning, it’s important to realize that the energizing effects of caffeine are short-lived. They’re almost always followed by a caffeine crash that can make you feel even worse than you did before consuming your favorite caffeinated drink.
How Can I Break My Dependence on Caffeine?
Caffeine dependence refers to the body’s need for caffeine to function properly. Not everyone who drinks caffeine develops a caffeine dependence or addiction. But this condition is more common in people with out-of-control caffeine consumption habits.
If you’re ready to finally break your caffeine addiction, keep in mind that it may take time. If you try to quit cold turkey, you will likely experience a variety of caffeine withdrawal symptoms. These may include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Depressed mood
These withdrawal symptoms could be severe enough to interfere with your job and personal life. If you’d rather break your dependence on caffeine without going through withdrawal, a better approach might be to slowly cut back on your caffeine consumption until you can stop drinking it altogether without experiencing addiction withdrawal symptoms.
As with alcohol and drug abuse, there are some treatment programs for caffeine addiction and withdrawal. These treatment options may help you if you are unable to overcome your caffeine use disorder on your own.
Some caffeine addiction and withdrawal treatment programs offer the following types of therapy:
- Support group meetings
- Group counseling
The severity of the addiction typically determines how intensive treatment should be. You’ll need to give your therapist your health info and typical caffeine consumption habits so he or she can determine the best treatment approach for your caffeine use disorder.
Are There Other Options To Boost My Energy?
Once you have broken your dependence on caffeine (on your own or with treatment), and made it through your withdrawal symptoms, get ready to feel like a new person! To boost your energy without risking developing caffeine use disorder again, it’s important to look for alternatives to your favorite caffeinated drinks.
Nootropic supplements (such as Herpower) are a good choice because they boost mood, physical energy, and mental function without the use of stimulants. You don’t need to worry about the dreaded caffeine crash when you take nootropic supplements, and you don’t have to worry about becoming addicted to them and needing treatment.
For more information about the positive impact supplementation can have on your energy levels, visit Mixhers Resources.