October is National Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month!
Wait… caffeine addiction recovery??
You heard right–caffeine addiction recovery– and I will admit, the idea of caffeine addiction is a strange concept to accept. With an estimated 80-90% of Americans habitually consuming caffeine, it is difficult to believe that caffeine is an addictive substance, let alone one that would warrant such concern. However, if you find yourself experiencing headaches, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, depressed moods, difficulty concentrating, or frequently uttering to your friends or roommates expressions like “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee” without getting your daily dose of caffeine, you may find that you have developed a form of caffeine dependency.
Second only to nicotine, caffeine is one of the most addictive substances in the world, even taking a place above other highly addictive substances such as heroine and cocaine. However, when compared to other addictive substances like nicotine, heroine, or cocaine, caffeine does not have NEARLY as many negative impacts on your health; in fact, it is not commonly believed that caffeine is an addictive substance due to the fact that it doesn’t threaten your economic, social, and physical health like many other addictive substances. Although this is true, it is reported that almost 30% of caffeine users become addicted to the substance in some way, and even go through “caffeine withdrawal” when deprived of caffeine, experiencing symptoms like headaches, irritability, depressed moods, fatigue, and even flu like symptoms.
If you have already went through the acceptance stage and are thinking of taking the next step onto reducing or even eliminating caffeine from your diet (you are one step ahead of me), your best option would not be to quit cold turkey, but to slowly reduce your caffeine consumption. With this method, it is easier to bypass the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal that you may experience along the way. However, there are many food and drink items that contain hidden amounts of caffeine, making it difficult to monitor your total caffeine intake. There are charts containing many popular food and drinks that contain caffeine, that can be used to keep track of how much caffeine you are consuming.
Let’s all take a moment to say good luck to those that are taking the steps towards a caffeine free life… before the rest of us get back in line at Mugby Junction.