In Drugs & Addictions

Caffeine Addiction: An Overview

Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine addiction is a common condition in the United States, a country whose people often prioritize financial success and productivity over leisure and family time. Many people who work long hours, year after year, or tirelessly work towards college degrees, depend on coffee, caffeine pills, and energy drinks for their very survival. Without this tool, used to get less sleep than needed, people would not be so productive

Caffeine addiction statistics state that consuming caffeine is on the rise with many more young adults partaking in the consumption of this stimulant. Its popularity has risen among youth steadily since its first introduction to the Americas with the early colonists in the form of coffee and tea. Now a new world has opened up for caffeine addiction through hip new energy drinks and caffeine pills. Though caffeine is a stimulant in the same class as many illegal drugs, these concentrated substances remain legal and widely used with up to 90% of adults using some form of caffeine or another.

Coffee

Some people drink coffee because they love the taste. Some drink it to stay alert. No matter the reasons for consumption, coffee is a loved beverage and stimulant that keeps Americans productive and on the move. Coffee is delicious to its many fans: Either straight or with cream and sugar, connoisseurs become hooked on all the many different flavors, roasts, and variety of coffee beans.

The main reason that coffee is so loved, however, is that it can override the need for sleep, allowing the user to stay up late and wake up early. Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that affects the body’s metabolic and central nervous system, allowing the user to feel more energized on less rest. Despite the appeal of working twice as long each day, sleep is a necessity that just cannot be ignored and replaced with a substance. Using coffee in moderation to wake up is an asset without probable negative repercussions, but habitual loss of sleep can negatively affect many aspects of a person’s health. The sleep deprived person will quickly deteriorate into an unstable and insane state of mind and body. Sleep deprivation is well-known to cause terrible mood swings, health problems, blackouts, hallucinations, and bad decision-making skills.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are a new rising trend these days. Many college and high school students partake regularly in the consumption of these products. These drinks keep the user awake for long hours and help them to focus intently on a subject for hours without fatigue. The are much more powerful than traditional caffeinated beverages. Energy drinks are a highly addictive combination of substances and may have long term health consequences if consumed every day. They usually contain high amounts of sugar, artificial flavors, caffeine, taurine, potassium, and B12 vitamins.

The truly frightening thing about energy drinks is the sheer amount of caffeine in each serving, some drinks containing up to 1,000 grams of pure caffeine in every can. Aside from this, there is also usually an incredible amount of potassium, up to 1,000 grams per serving, well over the recommended daily allowance. The reason these high levels are common is that the fda has not chosen to regulate these drinks yet. Many of these high level combinations can have negative effects and scientists have not done any long ter research on their effects.

Caffeine Pills

There are many caffeine products on the market today designed to keep people awake for long periods of time. Another popular form of caffeine that is equally and even more addictive than caffeinated beverages are caffeine pills such as NoDoze. Signs of caffeine addiction can increase in intensity if the caffeine is taken in pill form. This purified type of caffeine is sold at trucks stops, gas stations, and on the internet. Their pill form can make them highly addictive when consumed by someone with addictive tendencies.

The effects of a caffeine addiction are many. The loss of much needed sleep is associated with poor health and mood, and can negatively affect many aspects of the addict’s life.

Mental Health

Caffeine addiction can affect mood in a catastrophic way. A lack of sleep makes people easily angered, as well as depressed and lethargic in between highs. Drinking coffee and energy drinks, or taking caffeine pills, inhibits sleep and the body’s natural responses to normal stressors. Little things might send the caffeine addict off into the emotional deep end, causing them to cuss, scream, or breakdown. In this state friends could be lost, bridges burned, and family hurt. In other words, sleep is extremely important for mental health.

Caffeine is a psychoactive drug which means that it crosses the blood to brain barrier, something only a few drugs do. It increases a person’s heart rate and blood flow. Taking it causes the user to experience extreme anxiety, especially when too much is consumed at once. These negative effects are partly due to caffeine’s power to limit sleep. During much needed sleep the brain recharges tired nerve endings, mending and nourishing the body. Without this vital rejuvenation, the body basically shorts out, leaving the consumer spent.

Physical Health

Over-all health is negatively impacted from loss of sleep. More energy is spent to compensate for the lack of rejuvenation that the body should have experienced. This causes the body’s immune system to suppress, making it harder to heal and absorb vitamins from food. The sleep deprived person’s body is on over-drive. A lack of sleep can cause chronic disease and constant fatigue. Sleep deprivation can leave the user weak and slow, or catapult them in to a state of mania.

How to tell if you have a caffeine addiction

How can you tell if that innocent caffeine consuming habit has transformed into a more serious addiction? Caffeine addiction can strike anyone. Children and adults alike can get hooked on caffeine, so everyone should be aware in order to consume safely. There are certain tell-tale signs that someone has become a caffeine addict and not just a recreational user. Below is a list of symptoms of caffeine addiction to look for when trying to access the level of intake.

  • If you have caffeine products (coffee, energy drinks, caffeine pills) with every meal and in between meals than you may be a caffeine addict. It may be smart to limit your intake to.
  • If you get moderate to severe headaches when you do not consume your normal amount of caffeine by the same time each day. This effect is due to caffeine’s addictive qualities.
  • If you deny or minimalize the use of caffeine.”It’s not so bad.” Denial is a text book symptom developing from any kind of addictive behavior, including but not limited to caffeine addiction.
  • If you defend the addictive behavior through rationalizing statements Examples may include, “I have to drink this much caffeine in order to function at work!” or “I couldn’t stay this busy without it.”

Benefits of drinking coffee

Surprisingly enough, coffee is not actually completely bad for you. Any substance not done in moderation can negatively affect the body, but there are many associated benefits with consuming a couple of cups of coffee a day, such as a healthy liver and sex life. Caffeine is also a great home remedy for headaches and arthritis, though people with high blood pressure or anxiety should steer clear.

How to limit caffeine: How much is too much?

The National Institute of Health recommends 200 to 300 mg of caffeine a day as a safe and appropriate level to consume at. This is equal to three 8 oz. cups of brewed coffee or 5 servings of caffeinated soft drinks or tea. One energy drink falls far into the danger category and in just 1 serving. While 800 mg of caffeine, equal to ten 8 oz. cups of coffee per day, is considered to be excessive.

It is recommended that children and pregnant or nursing and mothers avoid caffeine as much as possible. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes hyperactivity in the majority of children. Pregnant or nursing mothers should avoid large amounts of caffeine, such as in energy drinks, but some intake is acceptable and has been reported to not cause adverse effects. The concern comes from the fact that caffeine crosses through the bloodstream into the placenta, increasing the fetal heart beat. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, if you plan to cut back, reduce your caffeine intake slowly.

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