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It’s pretty normal to indulge in a cup of coffee every morning, or an energy drink before those weekend parties. But the effects of caffeine on the body are often underestimated. Many avid coffee drinkers don’t realize that caffeine meets all the requirements to be labeled as an addictive substance; it induces periods of dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal in consumers. If any or all of these signs apply to you, you may have a more serious problem than you’d like to think.
1. Your Day Can’t Start Without Caffeine
For many, the day does not officially start until they’ve had their cup of coffee. All joking aside, many truly cannot get any work done until they’re able to boost their energy up with a caffeine fix. If the beginning of your day revolves around obtaining that fix, you have already begun to develop a dependency. It’s dangerous to rely all your productivity on something that may not be consistently available.
2. You Substitute Caffeine for Sleep Often
We’ve all had a test we had to study for all night or a day that we had to get through after a sleepless night of tending to sick children. Caffeine is a great way to keep alert on those off days, but using it as a substitute is not a good habit to get into. By numbing your senses with the drug, you can’t feel what your body really needs — natural rest. Consistent lack of sleep supported by caffeine boosts can be very stressful on the heart and a sign of a more serious dependency problem going on.
3. You Spend Too Much Money on Caffeine
Coffee isn’t cheap and even a cup of day from your local café can turn into pretty steep costs. If you’ve gotten to the point where you recognize the strain on your wallet, but can’t bring yourself to change it, ask yourself why. Do you feel like the cost of the coffee isn’t enough to be concerned about, or can you not bear the idea of missing out on your coffee every morning? You don’t want to get yourself into a financial rut over a caffeine addiction.
4. You Suffer Headaches without Caffeine
If you’ve managed to go a day without caffeine and have mysteriously felt like you were suffering from a hangover, you may have a caffeine addiction. The process of going through withdrawals is similar to heroin and other hardcore drugs, save that caffeine is a little less intense. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other sudden pain and discomfort on your day without caffeine, chances are your body is trying to purge those toxins out of your body.
5. Your Mood Isn’t Normal without Caffeine
Caffeine acts as a mood booster for nearly everyone. But if you fear caffeine is the only thing that makes you feel and act normal, that’s a bad sign. If you’ve noticed that you are irritable, anxious, or depressed without a caffeine boost, you may have a serious emotional dependency to deal with.
Luckily, overcoming an addition to caffeine is not the same process as an alcohol addiction treatment; your caffeine addiction can be tackled in much less time with much less stress. It will be difficult and, like any addiction, you have to want to recover from it to really break free. After some time of weaning off the drug, you may be able to return to a more healthy and rationed caffeine diet. But for now, indulge in natural foods and drink lots of water; you may eventually find that you don’t need caffeine at all!
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He is an advocate for those seeking help for a variety of addictions, and works with the Health Recovery Center in reaching out to those in need.