Approximately 90% of adults in the United States are in a dependent relationship that they cannot give up. This relationship makes them feel alive, the reason they get out of bed every morning, and the reason they’re there whenever they need a pick-me-up.
Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is. Americans are addicted to caffeine.
According to the United Brain Association, caffeine is the most readily available and most widely used drug in the world, and “approximately 8% display a problematic pattern of use known as caffeine use disorder.” That’s what it means.
Have you ever wondered whether the amount of caffeine you consume every day is actually good for your health, or what would happen if you quit caffeine altogether? Hear the answers to these questions and wonder if you want to continue that relationship? Please, maybe you’ll reconsider.
What does caffeine do?
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and, unlike other drugs, it is legal and cheap, so it is available all over the world.
Perhaps the most well-known effect of caffeine is that it causes alertness when it reaches the brain, keeping you awake.
“Caffeine works by blocking sleep-promoting receptors in the brain called adenosine receptors,” Dr. Rashad Ramkissoon told Houston Methodist. “This is possible because caffeine is structurally very similar to adenosine, a molecule that normally binds to these receptors.”
“When this happens, downstream sleep-promoting pathways are not activated, so you stay awake and alert during that time.”
But caffeine doesn’t just affect your brain. It moves throughout the body.
“After oral ingestion, caffeine is rapidly and completely absorbed into the bloodstream, reaching peak blood concentrations in 30 to 45 minutes. Caffeine is metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys in the urine.” According to the institute, it has a typical half-life of 4 to 6 hours and is quickly cleared.
Can caffeine be healthy?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said caffeine can be part of a healthy daily diet when consumed in moderation. Factors such as sensitivity to caffeine, weight, and medications taken can affect the amount of caffeine an individual should consume.
According to the FDA, healthy adults can consume a total of 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without side effects, which is the equivalent of about five cups of coffee.
He added: “There is wide variation in people’s susceptibility to the effects of caffeine and how quickly they metabolize (break down) caffeine.”
Caffeine isn’t just found in drinks. Many foods contain natural caffeine.
According to Healthline, the four foods that contain caffeine are:
- cocoa beans and chocolate.
- Cola nuts.
- Chewing gum.
Caffeine is tasteless and is included as an ingredient in many medicines. Always read the label before taking medicines such as Excedrin. Otherwise, you’ll end up lying awake at night wondering why you’re not tired.
How serious is caffeine addiction?
According to the United Brain Association, 8% of people who regularly use caffeine suffer from caffeine use disorder.
“Caffeine use disorder is characterized by a persistent desire to reduce or control the use of caffeine, despite the problems caused or exacerbated by the substance, and the failure of efforts to do so. “This is a problematic pattern of caffeine intake,” says the Johns Hopkins University Medical Journal.
Cutting back on caffeine can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the person. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common symptoms include headaches, fatigue, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
Unlike other medications that can have dangerous side effects if stopped completely, cold turkey containing caffeine can be stopped. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, “Go slowly to avoid unwanted side effects such as severe headaches associated with withdrawal. You’re not going to kick your caffeine habit overnight.” “In fact, quitting caffeinated cold turkey can make you even more dependent on caffeine.”