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Caffeine: The World’s Most Abused Drug

Coffee in CupCaffeine is the world’s most popular and abused drug. Your brain adjusts the way it releases its chemicals according to the tricky dictates of Caffeine. So, when you abruptly cut off your Caffeine intake, there are going to be consequences. As many people have discovered, Caffeine has some pretty nasty withdrawal symptoms.

Headaches — The most notorious of the Caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Not just a mild headache, a severe, throbbing headache that can make it difficult to function.

Cause: Caffeine narrows the blood vessels in your brain. When you stop the brain’s steady supply of Caffeine, it brings on increases in the velocity of the blood flow according to a study that used EEG and Ultrasound to observe changes in the brain after cutting off Caffeine intake.

Relieving the Symptom: There are ways to ease the severity of one of the worse symptoms of Caffeine withdrawal.

  1. The first is obvious. Take an over-the-counter pain medication according to package instructions until the pain subsides. Taking a pain medication that has Caffeine as one of its ingredients will reduce the pain faster. But, there’s a downside. It will add to your dependence. Consuming Caffeine of any kind will have the same result.
  2. Massaging your temples with peppermint oil can be helpful in relieving some pain and pressure.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Increasing your water intake will keep the Brain hydrated.
  4. Rest. Get enough Even try cat-napping during the day. It can bring relief.
  5. Cut back slowly. You get less severe withdrawal symptoms when you cut back slowly instead of all at once.

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Depression and Anxiety — Caffeine withdrawal can cause mood changes including Depression and Anxiety. This varies in intensity and in some cases require clinical intervention. If you have a history of Depression, talk to your doctor about your intention to stop taking Caffeine.

Causes: Since Caffeine has altered your Brain’s chemicals, any change in its intake will elicit changes.  Stopping caffeine causes Serotonin levels in your brain to drop. Since Caffeine withdrawal may cause Insomnia and Depression is often worsened by sleeplessness, this can represent a big problem during your Detox.

Relieving the Symptom: The best way to lessen or in some cases prevent Caffeine withdrawal symptoms is to reduce Caffeine intake over time rather than abruptly stopping. Include regular exercise in your daily routine. Exercise causes the release of Endorphins which elevate the mood.

Anxiety & Irritability — Caffeine is a stimulant enabler that changes the way the brain operates. It causes increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones. Halting Caffeine intake may cause you to be irritable and have a short fuse. If you were a heavy Caffeine user, that fuse is even shorter.

Causes: Caffeine increases the amount of Dopamine your Brain produces. When the effects of that neurotransmitter are cut off, the result is a lowered, grumpy mood. Since your body has become physiologically dependent on it, stopping the supply may create Anxiety. You don’t feel good and your mood shows it.

Relieving the Symptom: Reduce your intake over time rather than an abrupt halt. To reduce all caffeine withdrawal symptoms, cut back slowly, and increase your water intake. Practicing Meditation and Yoga are often helpful in relieving Anxiety.

Constipation — After you cut off Caffeine, your body’s eliminatory system may take a turn for the worse. You may start to have problems with Constipation.

Causes: Caffeine stimulates your bowel movement. Without it, the body needs to adjust to taking care of that task without any stimulation.

Relieving the Symptom — Pay extra attention to your nutritional intake. Increase the amount of fiber you consume each day and increase the amount of water you drink. If you don’t have one, start a daily exercise routine. If you’re uncomfortable, an over-the-counter laxative will bring faster relief.

Fatigue — A common withdrawal symptom of Caffeine is fatigue and sluggishness. You just don’t have any get up and go and it’s a struggle just moving through your regular activities.

Causes: The Caffeine you were taking blocked the Adenosine in your brain, causing you not to feel tired or drowsy. Blocking the Adenosine from its natural function caused other brain chemicals to go into overdrive. Caffeine withdrawal causes drowsiness and fatigue because you’ve weaned your body from all those excess stimulants Caffeine enabled.

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Relieving the Symptoms: Maintain a healthy nutritious diet, drink at least eight glasses of water daily water, and exercise regularly.

Lower Concentration — Caffeine can produce sharper focus, hyper-alertness, and give you the boost you need to study for an exam or handle a demanding job. Once you stop taking it, you may find it harder to concentrate and focus your attention on the intensity you desire.

Coffee Abuse & WithdrawalCauses: Caffeine causes an increase in the levels of Adrenaline the Adrenals produce. Once you stop taking it, the adrenaline boost, along with the boosts you got from other chemicals like Norepinephrine and Dopamine are also gone. The combined overproduction of all these chemicals is what raised your alertness while you were taking Caffeine. Without them, your body must become accustomed to relying on normal focus to concentrate adequately.

Relieving the Symptom: Practicing Mindful Meditation increases focus and awareness. A daily exercise activity like jogging, spending time at the gym, or other physical exercise can also help.

How Long Does Caffeine Withdrawal Take?

The length of time it takes you to completely Detox from Caffeine varies from person to person. You can expect the process to complete within two to nine days. For heavy Caffeine users, the withdrawal can take longer, in some cases, months. You’ll begin to experience Caffeine withdrawal symptoms between a half day to an entire day after you last consume any Caffeine. You’ll probably be impacted the most by symptoms between the first 24 and 51 hours.

Is Caffeine Withdrawal a Mental Disorder?

Years of research prompted some scientists to claim Caffeine Withdrawal fits all the criteria to be classified as a psychiatric disorder. Studies show as little as a single cup of coffee is enough to produce addiction in some people. Withdrawal from Caffeine produces often intense withdrawal symptoms. The intensity of the symptoms varies from person to person. A small percentage of people are disabled by withdrawal and prevented from going about their daily activities. Not everyone agrees with this. Caffeine Withdrawal was not included in the DSM-V because there is no evidence there is a significant amount of people disabled by the symptoms.

How Much Caffeine Can You Consume Before Becoming Addicted?

It’s impossible to say exactly how long a Caffeine addiction requires taking hold. A rough estimate is an addiction can set in between 7 and 14 days of daily consumption. Caffeine changes the chemical composition of the brain. So, the length of time it will take for you to become addicted depends on how long it takes your brain to determine it needs Caffeine for your survival.

Caffeine is carried to the brain via the bloodstream. The structure of caffeine is close to a natural molecule called Adenosine. Brain receptors easily mistake Caffeine for Adenosine. Caffeine blocks Adenosine. Adenosine causes you to feel a sense of fatigue or weariness. This is why Caffeine produces a feeling of being alert and wide awake. Another change caused by the blocked Adenosine molecules and their buildup outside the receptors is it prompts the adrenal glands to secrete the stimulant, Adrenaline. Blocked Adenosine also causes Dopamine to increase production.

Ironically, the belief that Caffeine is an actual stimulant is false. It simply enables other natural stimulants. It hacks the brain by creating a block that causes the brain’s natural stimulants to run amok. A steady infusion of caffeine allows the brain to become accustomed to this state of being. This is why when you attempt to cut off caffeine, your body goes through withdrawal.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.