If you find yourself struggling with a caffeine addiction it may help to know that you are not alone. According to Health Research Funding at least 68 million Americans drink three cups of coffee everyday, 30 million Americans drinking five or more cups of coffee a day, over 21 million Americans drink more than six cups of coffee a day, and three out of four regular caffeine users are actually addicted to it.
Caffeine is the most consumed drug in the world. It is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages between the brain and the body. The way this drug is consumed in several delicious forms and helps us function better at work and on busy days makes it so attractive to us, but when does it get out of hand? You may have a caffeine addiction if it no longer has the affects on you that it once did, your daily caffeine consumption amounts are out of control, or if you find yourself unable to function without caffeine.
Regular, heavy consumption of caffeine can have a lot of long-term effects on your health such as:
- High blood pressure and heart disease
- Difficulty sleeping
- Infertility (in men and women)
- Caffeine dependency
It may seem impossible to kick the addiction, but it is not. Here are three tips to help deal with a caffeine addiction:
1: One way to help the addiction is to quit caffeine all together. The first method for doing so is the cold turkey method. This is the fastest way to detox from caffeine and will help you realize the influence it has on your body’s functions. The downside is it may cause you to be out of commission from one to three days due to extreme withdrawal symptoms including:
-Fatigue and sleepiness -Concentration impairment
-Depression -Muscle and pain stiffness
-Tiredness -Flu-like symptoms
-Anxiety and nervousness -Constipation
With the symptoms of withdrawal being so taxing it is best to prepare for the cold turkey method. Plan so that the detox will take place over a weekend, have pain relievers on-hand and avoid driving, and prepare meals in advance like soup that are easy to digest. People who had been consuming large amounts of caffeine should prepare more than those detoxing from smaller daily amounts.
2: The second method used for quitting caffeine all together is the weaning method. Instead of quitting all at once you decrease your amount of daily consumption. The goal is to reduce your daily intake (16 fl. oz. to 12 fl. oz. to 8 fl. oz., etc.) until you are having zero amounts of caffeine a day. The upside to doing it this way instead of cold turkey is that it is less of a shock to your system resulting in few to no withdrawal symptoms. The downside is that it will take a bit longer to detox the caffeine out of your system and it requires tracking and be diligent about how much caffeine is being consumed.
- If you do not wish to kick your caffeine addiction, but instead learn to manage it there are several ways to do so. One way would be to reduce the amount of caffeine you intake. Here is a visual from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of how much caffeine exists in various beverages:
So if you wish to decrease your caffeine intake perhaps try going from a cup off coffee to a brewed black tea then to a brewed green tea. There are ways to gradually bring down how much caffeine you intake so that you are not dependent on the substance to function. Green tea is a great alternative to coffee because they both hold many health benefits, however a brewed green tea slowly releases caffeine throughout the day to keep you going unlike a cup of coffee. Another thing to try is only allowing yourself to consume caffeine before 10 am. Any caffeine consumed after 10 am can interfere with your sleep schedule and prevent you from falling asleep at night. After 10 am try switching to water. Being dehydrated is a main reason we feel tired, so drinking coffee all day is really counter productive when you should be hydrating yourself to stay awake.
The battle with caffeine is not an easy one by any means, but helping to keep your habit under control does not mean you have to give up your morning cup of Joe. Try these tips to help keep caffeine from controlling your life. For more information on how to handle a caffeine addiction schedule an appointment with us today at 614.299.9909!
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Sources: Chart from Alcohol and Drug Foundation