Friday, September 29, 2023

How To Stop Being Addicted To Caffeine

Increasing Your Energy Without Caffeine

Caffeine Addiction: you will want to quit after knowing this: how to overcome coffee addiction
  • 1Listen to your favorite up-tempo songs. If you can listen to music at work, why not put on some tunes that will get your heart pumping and make you want to dance? It’s a surefire way to beat the mid-afternoon slump. Plus, listening to up-tempo music while you exercise can even increase your endurance!XResearch source
  • 2Get moving. Believe it or not, exercise actually increases your energy and can be a healthy alternative for you if youve decided to quit caffeine. Try taking a brisk 20-minute walk instead of having a cup of java.XResearch source
  • 3Use natural lighting. Your body responds naturally to changes in light, so if it’s unnaturally dark where you’re working or sleeping it may make staying alert a lot harder. Conversely, if you keep on too many lights, your body wont be able to tell when its truly tiredand you will need more rest while youre quitting caffeine. Try keeping your blinds or window coverings open so that natural light can signal to you when its time to wake and sleep. Plus, natural light can increase alertness, mood, and productivity!XResearch source
  • 4Stop slouching. Slumping down at your desk isn’t doing you any favors in the alertness category. Sitting up, in an ergonomically friendly way, can make you feel more alert and ready to work. Consider standing up while you work or bring a yoga ball to the office to sit on. Why not include a sit-in workout to increase your energy level? XResearch source
  • How My Caffeine Addiction Started

    My personal experience, without a formal study needed, is that its definitely an addictive substance. Over the last 10 years after I fell in love with coffee, my daily caffeine consumption has steadily increased. I also fell in love with finding really great coffee and I appreciate the ritual of coffee. I love waking up to the smell of my drip coffee machine starting to brew on a timer. On the weekends, I love grinding fresh beans and making french press coffee. Holding a cup of coffee as I slowly wake up is one of my favorite forms of comfort.

    My coffee intake really started to increase when I moved to Charlotte a few years ago, and as part of my new-house purchases, I got a drip coffee machine. Previously I only had a small french press and a small Bialetti so it wasnt really practical to make more than 1-2 cups without brewing multiple times. But once I got a 12-cup coffee maker, I made half a pot since it was easy enough to make more. I started drinking two cups before work and then emptied the pot to take a large travel mug with me to work. Then, once I was in the office, I typically went to get coffee with a coworker to catch-up and then again in the afternoon for a little break. So 1-2 cups of coffee escalated to 6 cups.

    And then things escalated further this year.

    Why I cut back

    So, how did I do it? There are five things that helped break my caffeine addiction.

    How Long Does Caffeine Last In The Human Body

    The effects of caffeine can be felt as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. The level of caffeine in your blood peaks about one hour later and stays at this level for several hours for most people. Six hours after caffeine is consumed, half of it is still in your body. It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream.

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    What To Do If You Think You Might Be Addicted To Caffeine

    Addiction involves not only excessive use of caffeine but also relying on this stimulant to better cope with life in spite of any negative effects you may be experiencing. To figure out whether you might be addicted, it helps to:

  • Assess your intake.Calculate how much caffeine you are consuming on a typical day. Keep in mind that gourmet espresso, lattes, and cappuccino typically contain more caffeine than regular drip or instant coffee, soda, and other common caffeine-containing foods and drinks. Therefore, this should be accounted for when determining your normal intake.
  • Pay attention to how you feel. Make a note of any side effectsyou experience after consuming caffeine. Also note any adverse effects you feel if you lower your normal intake or skip caffeine entirely. Pay attention to both mental and physical effects for a more complete picture of how you are impacted by its use.
  • Consider how caffeine affects all areas of your life. Think about your caffeine habit and how it affects your life as a whole. Do your relationships suffer if you don’t get your morning coffee, for instance? Could your caffeine intake be contributing to your work anxiety?
  • If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

    For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

    Signs Of Caffeine Addiction In Teens

    How To Wean Off Coffee Addiction / How To End Your Coffee Addiction ...

    Complaining of a headache if they dont have their usual caffeinated beverages is indicative of caffeine withdrawal, which means physiological addiction has happened. Acting more energized than usual and staying up later than usual are also indicators of too much caffeine. Excess consumption should be discouraged by parents. The greater concern than the caffeine is the sugar content of the beverages containing caffeine.

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    Side Effects Of Regular Caffeine Consumption

    Caffeine raises the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, making you feel more stressed out, irritable, and anxious.

    Caffeine can cause a racing heart and palpitations.

    It can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.

    And caffeine can definitely keep you up at night.

    Coffee, in particular, can cause heartburn, indigestion, and GERD, and mess with your intestinal flora.

    Caffeine impacts the activity of the most prevalent and important neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glutamate.

    Caffeine floods the brain with unnaturally high levels of dopamine, fueling tendencies toward insomnia, an overactive libido, addictions, and other self-destructive behaviors.

    The latest research shows that caffeine is more addictive than previously thought.

    And being hooked means that if you are ever cut off from your source, you can expect to start experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms within 12-24 hours.

    Caffeine is the Trojan horse. It looks like a gift but instead delivers adrenal stress, low blood sugar, mood and energy swings, fatigue, depression, malnutrition, and disturbed sleep. Stephen Cherniske, author of Caffeine Blues

    How To Avoid Caffeine Addiction

    Before going over how to break a caffeine addiction, avoiding one altogether is ideal. For casual caffeine drinkers that only consume a few cups a day but would not mind adding more, do not get caught up in the coffee craze. The average healthy adult can drink 4 cups a day without feeling any detrimental health concerns or caffeine dependence.

    Work, school, and life can get overwhelming sometimes, and you might feel like your body is on auto-pilot. You might think caffeine is the solution that will help you gain the energy to finish your day, but it is only going to add to the problem. Instead of having the 5th, 6th, and 7th cup of the day, look to these alternative solutions.

    • Have adequate sleep
    • Stretch routines and yoga
    • Drink caffeine alternatives like green tea

    The more active you stay, the better your body will respond. A long day of staying active will help you regulate your sleep schedule. The more active you are throughout the day, the more tired your body will feel at the end of it. Aside from the suggestions above, keeping track of how much coffee you consume will help you regulate your habits.

    You do not have to incorporate all of these alternatives into your routine. There is a chance that you drink a lot of caffeine and still stay active anyway. Practicing these alternatives is beneficial because it will prevent you from being dependent on caffeine. Lets take a quick look at how these alternatives can help you avoid addiction.

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    Signs Of Caffeine Addiction In Adults

    Headache will be the noticeable indicator of addiction to caffeine for adults. Once again, excess sugar is bad for you, regardless of your age, and commercially prepared caffeinated beverages are loaded with sugar. Adults who enjoy caffeinated beverages would be better off preparing them at home and limiting the amount of added sugar.

    Signs Its Time For A Caffeine Detox

    How To Quit A Caffeine Addiction

    In terms of knowing when its time to detox , these are a few signs. First, you notice a change in your sleep cycles. It takes a long time to fall asleep or your sleep is restless. Second, you have headaches every morning. Once you form a dependency on caffeine, your body will expect it to come consistently. While your body waits, your blood vessels dilate. This could produce brain irritation, thus activating pain centers that form pounding headaches.

    Third, you have feelings of anxiety or panic attacks after drinking caffeine. Fourth, you experience muscle spasms. When youre constantly drinking caffeine, it can lead to dehydration. This causes your muscles to spasm. If you notice that your calves, hamstrings, or thighs spasm throughout the day, that could be a sign of over-consuming caffeine. Luckily, learning how to quit caffeine can be tremendously helpful.

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    Health Benefits Of Drinking Less Coffee

    So, if you go through the pain of withdrawal, how is it making you healthier? By decreasing caffeine, you can expect to sleep better, feel less jittery and have less anxiety. If you struggle with heartburn or have to pee often, those symptoms will also improve as you reduce your coffee intake.

    But I thought coffee is healthy?

    Again, it depends who you ask. A 2015 study found that coffee consumption was associated with an 8% to 15% reduction in the risk of death. Many other studies show that drinking coffee decreases the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinsons disease and uterine and liver cancer.

    Conversely, the World Health Organization reports that coffee has been linked to irregular heartbeat and increased cholesterol levels. The WHO also states that long-term use of high caffeine intake may be linked to loss of bone density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis. Considering I have high cholesterol and have a family history of osteoporosis, those are two reasons Im more conscientious about how much coffee I drink.

    So while the data is inconclusive or confusing at best, there are some side effects of caffeine that are everyone agrees on. In short, it wires us, alters digestion, and messes with our sleep and emotions. Too bad it tastes so dang good.

    One more interesting note.

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    Be Clear On Your Motivations For Quitting Caffeine

    Lastly, you need to be very clear on whats in it for you to be caffeine-free.

    When caffeine withdrawal gets rough, you will undoubtedly question why you decided to quit in the first place.

    If you arent clear on why youre quitting, it will be very easy to throw in the towel.

    For this reason, I suggest you write down your reasons for quitting caffeine.

    You may want to quit because caffeine ruins your sleep, increases your stress, or makes you feel anxious.

    Maybe you take one of the many medications that should not be mixed with caffeine.

    Or perhaps you want to save all that coffee shop money for something more important.

    Also, I urge you to write down how bad you feel when you are going through caffeine withdrawal.

    That will help you avoid a relapse so that you can quit for good.

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    What Are Some Tips For Quitting Caffeine

    Cut down slowly on the amount of caffeine in your diet. Dont make the mistake of stopping totally. Youll likely experience withdrawal symptoms and go back to drinking coffee or soda or taking a headache medication with caffeine in it to make the symptoms disappear. This starts the dependency cycle all over again. Avoiding the withdrawal symptoms is one of the most common reasons why people continue their caffeine habit.

    To successfully reduce your caffeine intake, gradually reduce the amount of coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks you have each day. Begin to substitute cold caffeinated beverages with water. Water is a healthy choice and satisfies the need for drinking a liquid. Water also naturally flushes caffeine from your body and keeps you hydrated.

    If you are a coffee drinker, gradually switch from regular coffee to decaf. First alternate between decaf and regular, then slowly change to more decaf and taper off regular coffee. Gradually reducing your caffeine consumption over a period of two to three weeks will help you successfully change your habit without causing withdrawal symptoms.

    Keep A Running List Of All The Ways Giving Up Caffeine Is Improving Your Life

    This How Our Body Reacts When We Quit Caffeine

    Better sleep. More money in your pocket for artisanal seltzer. Less sugar or dairy in your diet . Freedom from what is, technically, an addiction.

    Behavior change is often supported by connecting to the bigger valuesthe things that are important to youthat drive your life, says Washington-based nutritionist Meghan Cichy, who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and chronic dieting. When our perspective is more positive and connected to our values, it can actually help us to feel less crappy about going through it.

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    What Is Caffeine Dependence

    “When people use the term caffeine addiction, that is incorrect. Technically, caffeine use can result in a physical dependence, but not an addiction,” says Cherian. The difference is as follows:

    • Dependence: Physical dependence on a drug means that you need more of it to gain the same effects, but you can stop using it if you want to.
    • Addiction: An addiction is uncontrolled substance use that results in negative consequences. In other words, you cannot stop using the drug despite how it’s negatively impacting your life.

    Drug dependence can accompany addiction, but it is not addictive because it does not trigger neurological changes specific to drug addicts.

    In particular, caffeine does not damage the orbitofrontal cortex part of the brain that helps you think rationally like what researchers have seen in cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine drug addicts.

    That said, caffeine does affect the brain, just in a different, less severe way. It works by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain that make you tired. As a result, you feel more awake and energized, says Vivek Cherian, MD, an internal medicine physician with a private practice.

    People become dependent on caffeine when they drink it on a daily basis and develop a tolerance, says Carrie Lam MD, FAAMFM, co-founder and medical director of the Lam Clinic

    “As the brain gets acclimated to the higher amount each day, those who stop drinking caffeine abruptly will start to have withdrawal symptoms and cravings,” says Lam.

    Quick Tips To Help With Caffeine Withdrawal

    If you feel you are using caffeine to cope with an emotional problem, such as depression or anxiety, also talk to your physician about options for treating these conditions. The right treatment could make a huge difference for you.

    Caffeine addiction often overlaps with other behavioral addictions, such as sugar addiction. So, you might find that evaluating your caffeine intake identifies other behaviors that need to be addressed as well.

    If you don’t feel that you are addicted to caffeine but may be consuming more than is healthy, you can choose to either reduce your caffeine intake or cut it out completely.

    Instead of cutting your caffeine intake abruptly, try reducing your regular intake by about 10% every two weeks. One way to do this is to reduce the strength of your caffeinated drinks by diluting them with a decaffeinated version.

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    Caffeine Addiction: How To Drink Less Coffee

    Coffee is one of the most well-known natural stimulants, along with nicotine. But whether or not coffee is listed among addictive substances depends on who you ask. The World Health Organization lists caffeine addiction as a clinical disorder. But the American Psychiatric Association doesnt identify caffeine addiction as a substance use disorder. The APA does, however, recognize caffeine withdrawal as a clinical condition.

    The National Institute of Health shows that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system in three ways and they also state that caffeine does cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

    And yet another classification comes from the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide called Caffeine Use Disorder, which refers to a disruptive, problematic pattern of caffeine use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. Common features of the disorder include overuse, inability to quit, withdrawal symptoms, craving, tolerance, and continuing to use despite problems.

    That 100% sounds like what I was experiencing over that year with my coffee intake.

    So, yes, the scientific community has different definitions and different opinions on the addiction level of caffeine, but if youre reading this post, you probably do believe that caffeine and coffee is addicting. And while there is research to show that coffee does have some solid health benefits, Im going to focus on the benefits of reducing coffee intake in this post.

    Should You Quit Cold Turkey Or Gradually


    There are two schools of thought about the best way to beat a caffeine addiction quit suddenly or quit gradually.

    The key to deciding is knowing yourself and how you normally respond to these kinds of challenges.

    From a neuroscientific perspective, taking small steps gives you time to actually rewire your brain to create new, healthier habits.

    However, many people are excited by big goals, like quitting cold turkey.

    Setting bold goals provides a nice boost of the neurotransmitter dopamine, known as the motivation molecule.

    Johns Hopkins University researchers, who have studied caffeine withdrawal in depth, endorse a gradual approach to quitting caffeine to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

    Heres a simple plan to quit drinking coffee gradually by swapping out 25% regular coffee with decaffeinated coffee each week for one month.

    This plan can be adapted to any other caffeinated beverage that has a decaffeinated option as well.

    A major advantage of this stepped plan is that you dont need to make any behavioral changes to succeed.

    And since there are many neuroprotective compounds in coffee besides caffeine, you can feel confident that your decaf coffee is still a brain-healthy drink.

    Minimize Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal With The 25% Solution

    Week 1: Drink 75% regular, 25% decaf.

    Week 2: Drink 50% regular, 50% decaf.

    Week 3: Drink 25% regular, 75% decaf.

    Week 4: Drink 100% decaf.

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