Surely, whenever we hear caffeine the first thing that comes to our mind is coffee and tea but interestingly did you know besides these there are other sources of caffeine too such as cocoa and kola nuts of which most of us were not aware about? Yes, I know quite surprising now that our favourite chocolates too contain caffeine. Caffeine can also be found in soft drinks, energy drinks and in some over the counter medications such as cough syrups as well as in diet pills too. Caffeine is considered as a stimulant to the nervous system and regular intake of caffeine can cause physical dependence on it. The content of caffeine varies from food to food and depends on the serving size of food or beverage. Caffeine, either it be in small doses or large doses, a regular intake of it can make one an addict, and this addiction like other addictions does have withdrawal symptoms too if you abruptly stop taking in caffeine. So, how much intake of caffeine can be classified as an addiction? According to studies, people consuming minimum of 100mg of caffeine per day start showing withdrawal symptoms when they stopped taking it.
Teenagers have become an addict due to the stress of studies they find comfort in drinking coffee or tea. One of the effects of caffeine is an increased alertness. This is one of the major factors that people intake caffeine though, it has been found that this effect diminishes overtime with regular intake. Another cause for addiction is lifestyle, people have made it a habit to intake caffeine on regular basis, people enjoy the caffeine and have developed a taste for it so they make it a part of their regular routine. As per an experiment carried out by 180 Soviet doctors on thousands of their patients they found that when the body-oxygen test is less than 20 seconds (norm is 40-50 seconds), people become addicts. Thus, one of the causes of caffeine addiction is low body-oxygen levels. They suffer low energy due to it and naturally they feel energised after having a cup of coffee
People with caffeine addiction experience elevated levels of blood pressure especially in those who are suffering from hypertension. As per a study done on young adults suffering from mild hypertension the results revealed that there was 4 times more risk of heart attack when they consumed caffeine equal to 4 cups of coffee. It also increased the chances of developing fibrocystic breast disease in women when they consumed around 250 mg of caffeine. One common symptom of caffeine addiction is insomnia. Though caffeine relieves symptoms of headache but an overdose of caffeine can also result in headache and migraine.
Quitting caffeine is not an easy task, once you realise that you are a caffeine addict do not stop the intake of caffeine all at once, if you are a heavy addict, as it has negative effects on health. To come out of this addiction start by decreasing the intake by 10-30 mg every 3-4 days until it is reduced to zero caffeine. This would help in coping up with the withdrawal symptoms and does not abrupt your day to day life. This is known as the weaning method. The other method is the cold turkey method that is giving up caffeine all at once but not recommend to heavy consumers. Before trying out any of these methods you should be mentally prepared for it and having pain reliever in hand could be quite handy. It is advisable for people trying out the cold turkey method to avoid driving in this period.
Firstly, keep a count on how much caffeine you are taking in the form of coffee, drinks or your medicine and make sure you’re not having more than 250mg of caffeine every day. If you are unable to leave your coffee try cutting back on soft drinks or energy drinks or you could plan to have them on alternate days. You could also switch from drinking coffee to drinking tea though it has caffeine too but less, a white tea contains around 5-30mg per cup. Herbal tea is good for health too and caffeine content in them is usually less than 50mg.
If you are about to start your caffeine detox then you should be aware about its withdrawal symptoms. One of the common symptom is brain fog, people find it difficult to think straight and have some difficulty in doing common task. Since caffeine intake results in high blood pressure it has an opposite effect when the caffeine consumption is stopped. Some abnormalities were found in the heart rhythm. Most of the time people can’t even think of food hence they feel lethargic. People have also reported of feeling dizzy, anxiety as well as panic attacks too