Incessant head aches, eye twitching, and body aches. These are just some signs of an addiction to caffeine.
Within 24 hours of putting down the cup, thoughts are foggy, muscles are fatigued and irritation sets in. If you don't get a sip soon a headache will slam your cranium harder than a ton of bricks. Like one of the 80 percent of Americans who ingest caffeine on a daily basis, according to the FDA, you've developed a coffee addiction.
Effects of Caffeine on the Brain
After the small intestine absorbs caffeine, it's pushed into our bloodstream and eventually to the brain. Here, the water soluble molecule found in coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks blocks the brain's naturally occurring molecule called adenosine.
Generally, adenosine works to produce a feeling of tiredness in humans, but by drinking caffeine we are blocking it out. Overtime, avoiding a mid-day melt down or early morning fatigue can cause brain chemistry to change and create more adenosine receptors. In short, the more receptors, the stronger the demand for caffeine and also stronger symptoms of withdrawal.
Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal
Unlike drugs, like tobacco and opiates, withdrawal symptoms are relatively short. According to Mayo Clinic caffeine withdrawal only lasts 7-10 days.
It's not an easy task to quit caffeine cold turkey, however doing so can return brain function to a natural state while improving daily life. If you have any of the following symptoms you may be enduring the negative effects of caffeine.
- Headache: This type of head ache begins behind the eyes and works it's way through the front of the face.
- Constipation: Caffeine also stimulates the bowel so when it's removed from one's daily diet, bathroom habits can be affected.
- Exhaustion: Even if you're sitting up straight in a brightly lit room, you'll still feel sleepy since the chemistry in the brain has been altered for a long period of time.
- Muscle Pain or Stiffness: This generally occurs if you ingest caffeine before your morning work out.
How To Cope With Caffeine Addiction Symptoms
Trying to quit caffeine or just decrease the amount you're consuming on a daily basis can improve your health as well as the relationships you have with others. You won't be dependent upon that cup-o-Joe for happiness and you won't need another cup right after work. If you're trying to quit, some of the following suggestions may help.
- Substitute green tea for coffee
- Get regular exercise
- Drink more water
- Believe you can overcome the addiction