Caffeine is a natural central nervous system stimulant. It is the most widely consumed legal psychoactive drug in the world, and it is not regulated. Caffeine affects the brain by blocking the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain. Adenosine usually builds up over the day making you more tired as time goes on.
Is Caffeine Addictive?
Caffeine connects with these receptors without activating them; this blocks the effects of adenosine reducing tiredness. Caffeine may also increase dopamine and norepinephrine which further stimulates the brain. Some of the common effects of caffeine can include alertness, focus, and arousal. Caffeine can be found in several different beverages such as soft drinks, tea, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate milk, and even chocolate.
Caffeine is a Stimulant That Can Be Abused
People can become dependent on caffeine, but having an addiction to a substance is a lot more extensive than developing a dependency. However, caffeine will cause withdrawal symptoms if an individual has become dependent on it and suddenly stops consuming it. According to the National Library of Medicine:
The common-sense use of the term addiction is that regular consumption is irresistible and that it creates problems. Caffeine use does not fit this profile. Its intake does no harm to the individual or society and its users are not compelled to consume it. Though cessation of regular use may result in symptoms such as headache and lethargy, these are easily and reliably reversed by ingestion of caffeine. Some have argued that continued caffeine use is an attempt to suppress low-grade withdrawal symptoms such as sleepiness and lethargy. In some moderate users, this is possible; however, in experimental contexts, the phenomenon is too inconsistent to constitute a reliably valid syndrome. (NLM)
What Are Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Caffeine withdrawal will occur if your body has become dependent on it, and is discontinued. The effects are not pleasant, and it can be quite difficult to overcome. Some of the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can be:
- Trouble concentrating
- Depressed mood
- Low energy
Can Caffeine Detox Symptoms Be Treated?
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere between 2 to 9 days. Symptoms normally peak in intensity between 24 to 51 hours after it is stopped. If you are trying to cut caffeine out of your diet, there are ways to reduce some of these unpleasant side effects that the withdrawal causes.
- Cut Back Slowly – By slowly cutting back on caffeine, you can significantly reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Quitting caffeine cold turkey is what shocks the body and makes the withdrawal symptoms terrible.
- Stay Hydrated – Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during this to keep your body hydrated.
- Reduce Beverages with Caffeine – If you normally drink 6 caffeinated beverages a day, go down to 5 and then 4, etc. Mix other drinks in between the caffeinated beverages, that are caffeine-free, throughout the day.
- Get Enough Rest – Make sure you are sleeping 7 to 8 hours each night to combat the fatigue.
- Naturally, Boost Energy – Start exercising and eating more healthy foods and also practice stress reduction techniques to help boost your energy more naturally.
Caffeine withdrawal is a very common occurrence. Even though it may feel unbearable at first, the symptoms are only short-term. By gradually cutting back your daily intake and getting plenty of rest and water, you can find ways to naturally boost your energy and live life without it.
Severe Caffeine Addiction May Require Detox or Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting-edge addiction treatment. We are South Florida’s premier medical detox and residential treatment facility. We will help you rebuild your life and get on the road to long-lasting recovery. Call us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.