Is Caffeine Withdrawal A Real Thing?

Is Caffeine Withdrawal A Real Thing?

When you picture morning, you probably see yourself getting ready to start the day, getting something to eat and sipping on a cup of coffee, of course. For many of you, a cup of coffee is what indicates that your day has started.

About 75 to 80 percent of the population depends upon caffeinated drinks to get through the day. The amount of caffeine intake dramatically increases as a person enters the age group of 50 to 64 years.

Among all the caffeinated drinks, coffee is the primary one. Have you ever thought that this excessive use of caffeine might lead you to develop caffeine dependency?

It is difficult to account for the exact number of people suffering from caffeine dependency. According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Substance Dependence list, the number exceeds more than quarter of the people who use caffeine.

If you suffer from caffeine dependency, what happens when you stop taking it all of a sudden?

You suffer from caffeine withdrawal. Yes, it is real and everyone who is dependent upon caffeine is at the risk of developing it.

What Is Caffeine Withdrawal?

Caffeine withdrawal isn’t necessarily a consequence of coffee addiction. It might be related to your body that has adapted according to the presence of caffeine in its system and then reacting when it suddenly stops getting it. So, if you have been drinking coffee for a long time, it is possible that skipping a cup brings you irritating symptoms like fatigue and headache.

Caffeine withdrawal mostly occurs when you have been consuming at least 500 milligrams of caffeine or may be more on a regular basis. However, it can also be seen with much less amount of caffeine if it is a daily habit of yours to depend on it.

Why Does It Occur?

As soon as you take caffeine in any form, it makes its way to the bloodstream and ends up entering the brain. Caffeine is structurally related to adenosine- a product that naturally occurs in the brain. So, after entering the brain, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors and block them off. To maintain equilibrium, your brain starts producing more adenosine receptors in people who get addicted to using caffeine.

In such people, giving up on caffeine can result in withdrawal because their brain chemistry has been altered already and is dependent upon caffeine to fully function. That is why withdrawal occurs.

What Happens In Caffeine Withdrawal

One of the basic signs of caffeine withdrawal is when you find yourself not able to perform any daily task without sipping on coffee.

The most common symptom of caffeine withdrawal is a headache according to a research, but there are a number of others that can be seen in people going through a withdrawal.

  • Depression
  • Reduced alertness
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritable mood
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Low energy
  • Inactiveness
  • Foggy mind
  • Discontent

How Can You Stop It?

A number of studies on the consumption of caffeine suggest that there are not many options for stopping caffeine withdrawal. If you really want to give it a try, talk to your doctor about reducing your dependence on caffeine.

Additionally, you can try adopting the following steps to lower the caffeine dependence yourself

  1. Try drinking more water
  2. Start exercising to stimulate your body and brain naturally
  3. Replace your caffeine drink with a caffeine-free option for once. For example, if you normally drink 4 cups of coffee, try taking two and swap one with some herbal tea or any other alternative.

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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