Nobody can deny it – it’s simply delicious with all the different flavors, cream and toppings. Coffee is the only substance that is known to create addictions and is socially acceptable even desirable. Cup sizes have grown during the last 20 years and the amount of caffeine we consume with it.
Should you even care if you have a coffee addiction?
This is a personal question. Would you care if you’re addicted to smoking? Are you able to cut your caffeine intake without withdrawal symptoms by yourself? If not, you could suffer from Caffeine Use Disorder.
A study called ‘Caffeine Use Disorder: A Comprehensive Review and Research Agenda‘ written by Laura Juliano, Steven Meredith and Roland Griffiths of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and John Hughes from the University of Vermont summarizes previous research on the topic. Juliano says that data shows that dependance on caffeine is widespread with significant physical and psychological symptoms. Juliano commented: “The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognized as such because it is a socially acceptable and widely consumed drug that is well integrated into our customs and routines.”
How much caffeine is enough?
The good thing about coffee is that even if you want to cut back you don’t have to give it up for good. The recommended amount is 400 mg of caffeine per day for an healthy adult and 200 mg for pregnant women.
That’s about 2-3 cups of 8 fl oz or about one venti (20 fl oz) of Starbucks brewed coffee.
10 signs of caffeine addiction
Spending too much money on caffeinated products.
If you’re spending more than $25-30 a week for coffee or caffeinated products like cola or energy drinks it could be a sign that you’re consuming too much caffeine.
Always using caffeine to avoid proper sleep
The average adult should sleep about 8 hours. If you are drinking coffee or caffeinated products every night to stay awake longer it’s a sure sign of coffee addiction. You’re taking away the time for your body to rest and recuperate.
Becoming tolerant to high doses of caffeine
Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine and very small amounts will give them a boost of energy and positive feelings. This effect vanishes in a matter of days if they continue using the same amount of coffee every day. Very quickly by consuming caffeine they only feel ‘normal’ and loose the boost effect. According to a study complete caffeine tolerance happens between 1-4 days!
If you want to feel that boost of energy again, you have to consume more caffeine which makes you tolerant to higher doses quickly. If you’re continually increasing caffeine consumption you’re probably dependent on caffeine to function normally.
Consuming more caffeinated products than water
You should drink about 2 l of water every day to hydrate your body and compensate for mineral and water loss. Consuming more coffees, colas, energy drinks or other caffeinated beverages than water will contribute to dehydration of your body and is a good sign that you’re hooked to caffeine.
Getting a headache if you skip your morning coffee
Skipping the morning coffee can result in a headache if your body is used to a caffeine kick. Other symptoms can be sleepiness, lack of concentration, irritability, decrease of motivation, constipation.
Drinking more than 3 cups of coffee per day
The recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400 mg per day. That’s about 2-3 cups of 8 fl oz or about one venti (20 fl oz) of Starbucks brewed coffee. Chances are that you’re consuming additional caffeine through other beverages (black tea, cola, energy drinks) or food (chocolate, caffeinated gum, candy,..) making your daily caffeine consumption very high.
You become restless and nervous if you skip a caffeine dose
This is a typical withdrawal sign of caffeine which makes you more prone to conflict and a sign you depend on caffeine to function normally.
Planning your day around getting a caffeine fix
Adding extra time and effort just to be able to pick up your coffee at the local coffee shop or planning your day dependent on when you’re going to drink your coffee is a sign that your body is dependent on coffee.
Drinking caffeinated beverages every day
If you’re not addicted to coffee you should be able to skip caffeinated beverages for a day or two completely. If it seems extremely difficult for you to skip coffee for a whole day you’ll probably need some help to get your body detoxed.
Drinking more coffee when under stress
Often we see people drinking coffee after coffee in our workplace. The cup at the desk really doesn’t get empty, making coffee drinking a nervous habit rather than an enjoyment. When working and under stress we can easily forget about the amount of coffee we drink which can have a negative effect on our appetite and diet making it difficult to eat all the needed nutrients since the stomach is full of coffee. This way coffee deprives the body of healthy nutrients it needs.
The good news is that caffeine is one of the substances you can easily get out of your system, if you go for one week without any caffeinated beverages. This could be helpful for all of you who want to downsize on coffee or need to because of health issues or pregnancy. If it seems difficult to completely stop with coffee consumption simply cut out one coffee drink per day until you get to the point where you can do without it.
After detoxing your body you can choose to drink coffee again but in the recommended amounts. That will give you the positive effects of coffee without really being dependent on it.
What are your thoughts about caffeine addiction? Is it an important subject or not?