Caffeine Addiction and Withdrawal

cups of coffee

The term “addiction” is rarely automatically associated with caffeine; however, caffeine addiction is extremely common, and it can be difficult to overcome. If you find it impossible to get through your day without your daily dose of caffeine, there is a good chance that you may be suffering from a caffeine addiction.

It is also worth noting that the common conception that coffee products are the only method through which the vast majority of people consume and become addicted to caffeine is slightly over-exaggerated. The consumption of soft drinks represents a substantial amount of the U.S. intake of caffeine.

Signs That You’re Addicted to Caffeine

As with most instances of chemical dependency, without being familiar with the signs and symptoms of caffeine addiction, it can be difficult to determine whether you are addicted to caffeine or not. There are certain signs and symptoms that are highly indicative that you have become addicted to caffeine.

If you are a person who absolutely has to have your morning cup of coffee in order to get out of the door, and then you head straight to the coffee station upon arriving at the office, there is a significant possibility that you have become addicted to your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Identifying the Source of Caffeine Addiction

While some people are cognizant of the fact that their favorite beverage is caffeinated, there are some people who are unaware that they are consuming caffeine on a daily basis, and they have become addicted to caffeine unbeknownst to themselves. Based on a report by Everyday Health, caffeinated drinks are far more common than you probably realize.

It can be found in energy drinks, coffee, soft drinks and even some over-the-counter medications. With that being said, coffee remains the leading dietary source of caffeine in the U.S. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of all caffeine consumption in order to effectively monitor intake.

Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal

As with any type of addiction, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms when you either stop consuming caffeine or cut back on the amount you consume in a day. According to Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, MD and American University in Washington, D.C., there are certain withdrawal symptoms associated with caffeine that are highly prevalent, serving as good signs that a person is coming off of an addiction to caffeine.

Some of the most prevalent caffeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and drowsiness is extremely common for people who are coming off of caffeine, especially when they don’t phase off of its use
  • Headache
  • Depression and irritability
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Flu-like symptoms, including vomiting, muscle aches and nausea

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can begin as early as 12 to 24 hours from the last substantial dose. Some people have reported caffeine withdrawal symptoms that were so intense that it prohibited them from performing their work-related tasks.

The best way to avoid the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal is to slowly back off of the normal dosage over the course of a week or two.

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