If there’s one thing in this world that most people can rely on during the times when they need to be hyped-up for work or even just to add coziness to casual conversations…it’s caffeine. A very sought after substance that it increasingly makes one dependent on it without the person noticing it. Some people do notice it but who cares anyway? It is neither drug nor alcohol, two of the substances where “dependence” is not something good to hear.
However, like what is being said in general, anything in excess is bad. Even if caffeine is a universally proven safe food/ beverage substance, it doesn’t mean that it does not have intoxication symptoms. If taken in large amounts on a regular basis, a person may already experience the following symptoms: nervousness, restlessness, excitement, insomnia, rambling flow of thought and speech, gastrointestinal upset, tremors, tachycardia, diuresis, muscle twitching, periods of inexhaustibility, and psychomotor agitation. Some even report symptoms of fever, irritability , tremors, sensory disturbances, tachypnea, and headaches.
On the otherhand, some people who abuse caffeine may also experience caffeine tolerance symptoms. When we talk about tolerance, it simply means that people experience decreased responsiveness to the substance, such that one may probably manage to sleep even right after drinking a cup of brewed coffee at night.
If you are one of those people who can relate to the symptoms mentioned, then you may want to think twice the next time you grab another cup of coffee. There are also some who is advised to stay away from caffeine containing foods and beverages as they either have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, primary insomnia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, urinary incontinence or cardiovascular disease.
When you want to stop or you need to stop, how should you then say bye-bye to caffeine? Ofcourse it has to start with a firm personal decision that you really want to stop, not just because your doctor told you so or not just because your mom says so. It has to come from a realization that it is already too much and it is causing bad effects on your body.
Going about it is not as simple as throwing out all the coffee sachets or jars and staying away from the coffee shelves in groceries. Just like in the case of alcohols and drugs, if stopping is not done properly or if withdrawn abruptly, it causes some withdrawal symptoms like diffuse, throbbing and sometimes severe headache which develops gradually. There may also be fatigue, sluggishness, sleepiness and drowsiness. Along with this is the impairment in psychomotor, vigilance and cognitive performances. Also affected is one’s motivation to work. On the emotional aspect, these people may experience
This was observed in people who immediately abstained from a dose as low as 100 mg/day (one 6 oz. cup of brewed coffee or two to three 12 oz. servings of caffeinated soft-drink.) Even among those who stopped a regular once-a-day consumption of caffeine (e.g. daily consumption of a single cup of coffee), symptoms of withdrawal were seen. Some people though denied having experienced withdrawal though because unknowingly, they still consume small amounts of caffeine by consuming other caffeine containing foods (chocolate, chocolate containing products, softdrinks, tea, etc.)
To prevent withdrawal symptoms, experts say that caffeine intake should be tapered off slowly. If you are a coffee fan, it is just as simple as decreasing the proportion of your caffeinated drink versus the decaffeinated. You may start by using 3/4 regular coffee to 1/4 decaf, then the caffeinated portion should be slowly decreased and the decaffeinated portion is increased. The same technique can be done with tea and sodas.
So the next time you decide to quit, take it easy…do it gradually.