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Caffeine Addiction

For those who enjoy a bit of a pick-me-up, there are few beverages more refreshing than a cup of coffee . Indeed, considered “the best part of waking up” for many, coffee and other caffeinated beverages remain a staple food in many households across the globe. In fact, studies have shown that up to 90% of American adults drink this beverage on a daily basis. That being said, there is a thin line between love and addiction. While there is clearly no shortage of coffee fans, the percentage of those who are totally, and uncontrollably addicted to caffeine remains unknown.

What’s the Big Deal About Caffeine?

Although caffeine is technically considered a ”drug”, can it really cause enough damage to be considered an addiction? Well, yes and no. For most of us, caffeine will never be a real issue. Barring any unforeseen complications, (never forget: even too much water can kill you ) the fact of the matter is most of us don’t drink nearly enough of it to be considered addicted. Quite the contrary, despite the fact that much of the world is very much dependent upon coffee, and other caffeinated beverages as a means of boosting our energy, there is a huge difference between that and addiction. (The latter of which, involves receiving literal impulses which compel you to partake in said substance.) This distinction may be tough to distinguish, (especially when you are observing your own behavior) so, how can you tell if you have a caffeine addiction?! That’s a great question!

The Caffeine Curve Secret confessions of a caffeine addict? Photo: emdot

Do I Have a Caffeine Addiction?

The reality of the situation is, no matter how many cups of caffeine you may consume in a day, you are likely nowhere near the threshold for addiction. That is to say, being dependent upon caffeine comes with its own set of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Depressed Mood
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle Pain / Stiffness
  • Flu-Like Symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • And Several Others

In other words, if you are a regular drinker of caffeinated beverages, you will likely experience one or more of these symptoms within hours of skipping your usual serving. Furthermore, depending on your level of dependence, these symptoms can go on for hours or even days. To take it a step further, although these symptoms may mirror the symptoms that many experience when going through a withdrawal as a result of a drug addiction, it is imperative to understand that there is a huge difference. The main contrast being how these symptoms are managed. Yes, you may be inclined to make yourself a cup of coffee to help stifle the onset of a looming migraine. However, that is vastly different from ignoring responsibilities or not being able to function until you have ingested a sufficient amount of caffeine. That is to say, it’s fine to feel a bit irritable because you haven’t had coffee. On the flip side, if you are the type to literally walk out of your place of employment or ignore other vital duties in favor of getting your fix, this is more in line with addiction-driven behaviors.

Positive Aspects of Caffeine

There are not only negative aspects of drinking caffeine. In fact, coffee in particular, has a host of associated benefits . These benefits include:

  • Improved Brain Function
  • Helps with Weight Loss
  • It Contains Several Essential Nutrients
  • Can lower the risk of type II diabetes
  • Has properties to help protect from Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • It has been known to lower the risk of Parkinson’s
  • It also has Protective Effects on the Liver
  • It Helps Fight Depression.

The Bottom Line

Although coffee and other caffeinated beverages sometimes get a bad reputation within the health community, there is clearly an array of benefits to drinking it as well. Everyone is different, therefore drinking anything on the daily basis will be beneficial for some but may be detrimental to others. No matter how often you choose to drink coffee, the best way to ensure your personal health is to make sure that it is a part of a balanced diet and coupled with a healthy level of exercise.

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