How Caffeine Addiction Affects Wellness

Coffee culture surrounds us and dominates the rituals of people around the world, one pumpkin spice latté at a time. Whether it’s from your coffee pot at home, your favorite corner coffee shop, or straight from a French press at work, caffeine is used by many trying to remain productive throughout their day. 

However many people take it a bit too far and become full on caffeine junkies. These are the coffeehouse hounds, the veteran baristas, the hotel coffee fiends. Many people, especially those in office work environments, view the addictive ties of binge drinking coffee as very normal. Society sees little to no problem with overconsumption, while the fact remains: caffeine can be an extremely addictive drug.

Where to Begin

The starting point is identifying exactly why you want to quit caffeine and the ways in which you consume it.

Is it because of money spent on coffee drinks every day? Maybe the coffee crash actually makes you feel irritable and you don’t even realize it. Some common reasons to quit drinking caffeinated drinks include:

  • Caffeine has less or little effect anymore
  • Dependence/addiction
  • Too many caffeinated beverages consumed in general
  • Constant dehydration
  • Sleep patterns affected
  • Tooth decay/discoloration
  • The financial expense of coffeehouses
  • Caffeine consumption is impacting other health problems
  • Specific orders from a doctor

Reasons Why Excessive Caffeine is Unhealthy

Caffeine can cause issues everywhere in the human body. From digestive problems to contributing to osteoporosis, coffee has been known to contribute to some health issues. The following graphic from Healthline shows the scope of how caffeine can affect the whole body.

How caffeine impacts your entire body

Using Alternatives to Help Wean Off

While alternatives aren’t exact replicas to a coffee connoisseur’s taste buds, they are a huge aid in kicking the coffee habit. Be sure to start small and gradually make the transition to new beverage choices. For example, if you typically drink three cups of coffee a day, begin weaning yourself off by replacing one of those cups of coffee with tea or another alternative.  

Maté: is a delicious and somewhat caffeinated drink. It also contains a lot of antioxidants, essential minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. I prefer to drink it hot with a small amount of agave for sweetness.

Tea: the obvious choice for an alternative. Certain black teas taste oddly similar to coffee, and many tea blends still contain quite a bit of caffeine. Furthermore, check out this coffee lover’s guide to tea.

Other Healthy Drinks: I absolutely love kombucha, and am very partial to cold pressing fresh juice. Find that special drink, caffeinated or not, and make that a new go-to beverage. When all else fails, drink more water!

Side Effects of Quitting

It’s smart to start this new phase of your life when you have some time away from work. You may not be on top of your game and will likely require extra rest, depending on your body’s reaction. Especially in cases of the heavily addicted, it’s not as simple as just dropping the drink, cold turkey. These are some common side effects and reactions to quitting:

  • Excessive tiredness and fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability and stress
  • Foggy head
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Symptoms similar to the flu

Less Caffeine Means More Long Term Productivity

A huge pitfall to quitting coffee habits is that feeling of regret when it’s 7 AM on a Monday morning. You’re late for work and are still half asleep upon arrival. The bar for productivity has been set, and waking up is less of an option, more of an expectation.

It is true that coffee and other highly caffeinated drinks help to alleviate the pains of an early morning, but realistically it’s only a short term fix. Kicking the caffeine habit will help ensure long term level headedness. Once you are past the initial wave of detox and side effects, something positive happens.

A lack of caffeine in your body helps you think more clearly. Addressing workplace issues will become much easier when excessive coffee drinking habits are broken. The biggest issue is the way that moods change when coming down from a caffeine binge.

Identifying coffee/caffeine addiction is the first step, especially if you feel that it is affecting your health. Share your experience below, it might help someone else.

4/16/2018 7:00:00 AM
Robert Parmer
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Robert Parmer is a health and fitness enthusiast, a freelance web writer, a student of Boise State University and a chef. Outside of writing and reading adamantly, he enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. He considers himself both a health foods and non-s...
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Comments
I'm wondering about caffeine in a pill form such as the 200 mg pills that you can purchase at the Supplement Stores? Are they all junk and hype or do they fit into this conversation? I know that I've been taking them for years to overcome fatigue at the workplace, as well as to give me the Boost to start my day. They take about 45 minutes to kick in and bring on some crazy sweats sometimes. After around 1 1/2-2 hours, they have worn off. What is anyone's opinion on them, other then calling me a fool? BTW, I have not been taking them for a couple of weeks now, my head is a little clearer but man do I get tired.
Posted by Gary
The coffee sharpens my brain for sure and i am much more productive and happier while drinking it. I wish i could always be that way. Without caffeine or sugar.. i doubt i would ever be fun to hang out with. Coffee makes boring things more interesting and helps me focus for sure. Luckily i dont drink a lot of it.. but need it in a.m. It definitely helps me in the workplace.. no doubt about it.. and i wouldnt want to live without it..no way Jose.. but i also need to stick with 1-2 cups per day.
Posted by gmoPro
I have just one cup a day in the AM... When I get up....
Posted by Mr.Moore
Indeed.
And I have a coffee that I have been distributing and exporting in over 50 countries now.
And ppl are raving about it bc they don t get ANY of the negative side effects as regular coffees and I have over a dozen flavors... including tea. Call or email me.
Posted by Boss Aishia
There are lots of health benefits from coffee beans as well so you will lose that if you dont drink it. I would just limit it to a cup or 2 per day. Tea can have lots of caffeine too. Some of my most productive times are when sipping a cup of coffee. Just dont go chain-drinking it all day. Then you will get all jittery and have the withdrawal headaches. I dont get those.
Posted by gmopro
While I agree too much caffeine causes health problems. Tea also has caffeine in it. The amount of caffeine varies based on type of coffee and tea. Take a look here:
http://coffeetea.about.com/od/caffeinehealth/a/How-Much-Caffeine-Is-In-Coffee-Tea-Cola-And-Other-Drinks.htm
Posted by Steve
Dear Robert, My name is JoAnna. I just read this article and prior to reading have been in the process of weaning off caffeine. I found your article informative and well written. My doctor diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after 10 years of Chronic Epstein Barr flare ups. Although there is no medication for either condition, there are certain adjustments to be made, if desired, to manage the fatigue and muscle pain, etc. One adjustment is caffeine as it is a stimulant, which initially creates the feeling of energy, only to crash worse or drink more coffee. Ultimately, stress and stimulant energy make the condition worse I want to thank you for your article. Anyone who needs to pull your article apart by stating that it's poorly written, missed the point completely/.
Posted by JoAnna
I sometimes drink 1 coffee cup in the morning and 1 in the evening, Juice and water through the day and hot chocolate
Posted by Linda Carlson
I thought the article was well written and right on. He was not trying to "put down" coffee or coffee drinkers, just trying to show the effects of over consumption. I for one was a huge coffee addict and was getting sick from the high amounts of caffeine as well as all the creamer with high sugar in it. I am now cutting down my coffee again and will drink it in moderation as well as prepare it myself since we do not really know how much or what else is in our coffees when we order it from somewhere else.

Posted by BarbaraAnn
I am curious to know what you (or the medical community ) would consider excessive caffeine consumption. How many mg/day?
Posted by Tyffani
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