Monday, March 05, 2007

Ever Had Caffeine Withdrawal? Learn to Recognize It!

Millions of people worldwide use caffeine every morning to give themselves that extra boost they need to start their day. In fact, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, even more than alcohol. I, for one am guilty. I started drinking coffee actually pretty late in life (I was about 25), but now I'm hooked! The only times that I cut off my caffeine intake were the 3 times that I was pregnant. Right after the baby was born - right back to it.

The problem is, too much caffeine can not only leave you feeling buzzed; it can cloud your mind when it starts to wear off and may cause permanent physical damage by increasing your heart rate. While the healthiest option is to stop using caffeine altogether, cutting off your supply can cause a host of withdrawal symptoms.

Caffeine is a stimulant, it wakes you up and helps keep your mind sharp. This means that if your body is used to caffeine and stops getting its daily dose, you’ll likely be tired and find it difficult to concentrate. Many people who abruptly stop caffeine find themselves barely able to stay awake and even harder to stay on track. They often make more mistakes at work.

Caffeine withdrawal can cover a wide variety of physical and emotional symptoms such as:

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
* Loss of concentration or focus
* Headaches - usually a dull, generalized pain rather than anything sharp and focused.
* Muscle soreness or stiffness
* Chills
* Hot spells.

Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms
* Irritability
* Restlessness
* Depression
* Feeling of anxiousness

Everyone’s response to caffeine withdrawal is different. It depends on your own personal physiology as well as how much caffeine you were consuming per day. Symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating. If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to quit cold turkey. For those with a severe addiction, suddenly stopping caffeine intake may be unbearable.

The best way to avoid these withdrawal symptoms is to slowly cut down on caffeine instead of quitting cold turkey. While pain killers may take care of some of the problems, there is no magic pill or any other cure for withdrawal symptoms besides time. If your symptoms are minor, you may be able to quit all at once, but it your symptoms are severe, you should decrease slowly for your own safety.


Petite Mom Blogger said...

ok, I'm addicted to coffee too! I drink 1 cup a day only but if I dont have my 1 cup I sure feel the effects later on.

With both pregnancies, I stopped drinking coffee in the beginning but towards the 2nd trimester allowed myself to have the ocassional decaf coffee just for the taste.

I dont think I will be stopping it anytime soon...I drink it in moderation. I don't think 1 cup per day will hurt me since I rarely have any other caffiene drink during the day.

Akemi said...

I used to drink tons of cokes and coffee while I was in college. I was definitely addicted to caffeine. My average sleep each day was like 2 hours. LOL. Can't do that anymore though.

Anyway, one day, I decided to quit caffeine. My mistake was quitting caffeine cold turkey. It was terrible. I've had all the symptoms that you listed here! But I did not give up on my decision. I no longer drink any caffeinated drinks and it feels great!

Tracy said...

WOW...good for you, Akemi! I applaud you!

It's funny, I quit cold turkey the last time I was pregnant - BIG MISTAKE. Headaches like you wouldn't believe. I decided to wean myself instead for about a week and that worked much better!

Isn't it funny what we do to our bodies voluntarily?