Consumption of caffeine can not possibly be all bad. After all, it creates alertness, more energy, and people just feel pretty good after drinking a cup or two of joe. Anyone who consumes caffeine on a regular basis, however, knows the downside when not drinking caffeine after being used to a regular fix: fatigue, irritability, headaches, among other things. Caffeine addiction is a real thing and it affects more people than one may realize.
The research into drinking caffeine, about 100 milligrams a day (an eight-ounce cup, approximately), can be enough to develop a dependence and trigger withdrawal symptoms. Escaping from withdrawal can feel really challenging when a person just feels blah without caffeine. Feeding the dependence feels good but it is not always good for the body. Most beneficial effects can occur if a person does not use caffeine that often, but generally people are consuming more and more caffeine without realizing it has crossed over into addiction.
Unwanted Side Effects
Caffeine is typically heralded as a great way to stay awake, alert, and focused even while tired. Studies have shown the perceived benefits may, in fact, be illusions that people hold to tell themselves it is working better than is possible. The extra alertness a person may feel after drinking a cup of coffee may be another withdrawal-maintenance mirage, which makes the person feel better for a time but is only maintaining an addictive state. Instead of dosing people with a drug that can produce unwanted side effects and potential health risks, it is recommended to look at taking in smaller amounts of caffeine during the day.
Why Smaller Doses Work
People are more likely to get better results from smaller doses of caffeine throughout the day than the overload of caffeine so many are doing now. When a person takes two ounces of coffee for every hour, cognitive tests go up and little impediment is seen in sleeping patterns. This is according to a study which focused on how to incorporate a ‘slow-drip consumption’ to avoid the caffeine rollercoaster. A person can get the highs without the lows, or withdrawal. Caffeine should not be a panacea for what ails a person, such as lack of sleep or alertness. It should be used on an as-needed basis. Beneficial effects occur when it is not used as often but people don’t consume caffeine this way, for the most part. It is a social and cultural phenomenon which is hard to break. Switching to tea can be helpful while also considering how to completely cut out caffeine for a time, detox, and focus on drinking water. This can help rebalance the body, take caffeine out of the system and support better health.
Don’t be afraid to try going caffeine free. If you are struggling with addiction to caffeine or other substances, we can help. Harmony Place is a state licensed treatment facility and leader in evidence-based treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Contact us at 1-855-652-9048 to find out how we can help support you or your loved one in seeking treatment.