Is Danger Lurking in Your Morning Cup?

Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Common sources of caffeineMillions 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.

Too much caffeine can leave you feeling jittery – not so fun. And it can cloud your mind when it starts to wear off. Worse, it may even cause permanent physical damage by keeping your heart rate too high.

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 by causing your body to produce adrenaline. I admit that adrenaline can make you feel great: all your senses are sharper, colors more vivid, you can think and respond to stimuli more quickly. That’s why there are “adrenaline junkies” in this world.

This also 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.

While loss of concentration and focus is common and expected, there are some other physical symptoms you should be aware of as well.

At least 50% of people going through caffeine withdrawal experience headaches; they usually (but not always) feature a dull generalized pain rather than a sharp pain. People in withdrawal may also experience muscle soreness or stiffness, chills, and hot spells. It’s important to recognize these symptoms as being from caffeine withdrawal, otherwise you may think you have the flu or a more serious illness.

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be emotional as well as physical. We’re used to feeling a certain way, and when we stop feeling that way, it can take a toll. Lack of caffeine can leave you feeling irritable, restless, depressed or anxious. People who abruptly stop caffeine may not be able to handle their workday and might need to go home early. They often lash out at their friends, family, and coworkers for little or no reason.

Everyone’s response to caffeine withdrawal is different. It depends on your own personal physiology as well as how much caffeine you were consuming each day.

Symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating.

If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to quit cold turkey. If you have 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, you may not want to go that direction.

Try an ice pack at the base of your skull. The ice acts as a vasoconstrictor (reduces blood flow) and will usually provide some relief. 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.

While it may be tough to take, quitting or cutting back on caffeine is a great choice to make for living a healthier life.

Like many drugs, after a while, you may need more caffeine to get the same effects. Guess what happens when you continually ask your adrenal glands for more production? If you guessed something like “they wear out” you would be very close to the truth.

It’s called adrenal fatigue, and it can cause a huge number of other health issues that may not even seem related at first glance.

A topic for another article….

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