Are You Addicted to Caffeine?

They say money makes the world go round, but it’s actually caffeine.

Caffeine is one of the most popular, widely available performance enhancing drugs in the world, with 90% of Americans using it regularly.  I say this with no judgment. There are many people in this world who can’t get through a morning without a cup of coffee, and I say: ‘More power to them’, since coffee does actually have a few health benefits.

That being said, I believe in ‘Everything in moderation’. So if you have to drink four cups of coffee before you even sit down at your computer, you may be fully addicted.

I understand that many people don’t care if they are addicted to caffeine, since it is basically the source of all life. That being said, if you skip coffee for a day and experience symptoms of withdrawal, you might consider rethinking your caffeine intake.

There is a difference between withdrawal symptoms, and longingly thinking about the deliciousness of a foamy latte with tears in your eyes. Caffeine is a stimulant, and caffeine withdrawal has recently been recognized as a medical diagnosis.

READ MORE: Attention All Coffee Addicts! How to Maintain Your Energy Without Caffeine

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be addicted to caffeine:

Headache- Headaches happen because caffeine restricts blood vessels and slows blood flow to the brain (which is ironic). Headaches are caused by the increase of blood flow.

Fatigue- Obviously if you don’t drink caffeine you are going to be tired. Quitting caffeine can cause fatigue and drowsiness, but your body will adjust as it gets used to a coffee-less existence.

Mood Swings- Caffeine has the added benefit of increasing dopamine, so when you stop drinking coffee, those levels drop causing mood swings, and even anxiety or depression.

Constipation- Coffee is well-known for helping keep your bowel movements flowing, because it constricts the bowels. That being said, you should NOT rely on coffee to keep you regular. Constipation is a sign of withdrawal, and also a sign from the universe that you need more fiber.

Flu-like symptoms- In extreme cases, caffeine withdrawal can cause nausea or vomiting, much like any other addiction. If you experience this from quitting coffee for a few days, you really need to think about your life choices.

The good news is most caffeine withdrawal symptoms will subside after a day or two (10 at the most). If you are concerned about addiction, your best bet is to slowly wean yourself off caffeine and drink plenty of water. You can also switch to decaf, and pepper in some tea once in a while if you like a nice warm drink.

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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