Why Is It So Difficult to Quit Caffeine? Understanding Caffeine Withdrawal
Caffeine’s is a serious addiction. Ever reasoned why some people have a harder time quitting it? It was only few years back when the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders considered caffeine intoxication and withdrawal as a diagnosis for mental disorders implying that people under caffeine intoxication or withdrawal may experience symptoms similar to signs of other mental disorders. While further research is warranted to establish the connection in its entirety, caffeine withdrawal is very much a thing of reality. “One reason why caffeine is so popular is because of its stimulating effects. Research shows that those who have never had caffeine actually stay more alert than people who are habituated,” Dr. Michael Miller shares in a video published on Harvard Health Publications’ website.
So what exactly is caffeine withdrawal? It obviously suggests a person to have been consuming high doses of caffeine on a daily basis – more than the recommended 400mg requirement in a day – and a sudden tapering of it, which in most cases leads to triggering a host of physiological symptoms. Usually people experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms within a day of stopping or reducing their caffeine intake, some of which would include the following:
– Splitting headaches
– Difficulty in sleeping or insomnia
– Feeling fatigued and drowsy
– Lack of attention and focus
– Mood swings
– Symptoms similar to flu
– Muscle cramps or pain
Experts suggest a person must experience at least three of the above mentioned symptoms or an inability to carry out daily activities. No two people can process and metabolise caffeine in a similar fashion; while some may find it easy to gulp down multiple caffeinated drinks in a day and still feel fine, others may end up spending the entire night wide awake after having a strong cup of coffee.
All in all, the key is to understand that caffeine is a powerful agent with potent stimulating properties. While it may act as a boon to cut sleepiness or boost your focus, over-dependence may pull the trigger in your direction.
How to avoid caffeine dependence
– Do not make it a habit, avoid consuming it daily or consume in irregular intervals
– Also try decaffeinated versions
– Alternating between tea and coffee may help
– Monitor your overall caffeine intake that may stem from other caffeinated drinks, chocolates, medication, etc.
How to tackle caffeine addiction and avoid caffeine withdrawal
“Substitute with decaf versions and try cutting down not more than 20% every week. You may experience headaches but treat them like any other headaches and soon you will get past the habit,” concluded Dr. Miller.
Stopping caffeine consumption completely and suddenly will only make things worst; a gradual tapering is always recommended until you are finally caffeine free. Get in touch with a certified medical expert to learn more about your body’s relationship with caffeine and how to include it in your diet to reap health benefits.