Millions of people around the world today must have a cup of energizing coffee in the morning. There are great reasons why coffee is preferred in the morning. It is a natural stimulant from plants meaning that it has fewer health risks.
It is a source of energy and gives you the alertness needed in the morning. It also contains nutrients that are useful in the body like niacin, magnesium, and potassium.
It is no wonder that many can be hooked to this popular cup of joe.
Can it become addictive? We may not compare this addiction to other hard drugs or alcohol. However, because of the chemical changes that caffeine presents, it does become addictive.
How Coffee Affects Your Brain
The chemical structure of caffeine looks similar to brain receptors known as adenosine. Adenosine receptors are responsible for feeding important information to the brain like the feeling of tiredness.
Caffeine targets these receptors and connects with them. They block the effects that adenosine has on the brain and thus make you feel less tired. Caffeine also increases adrenaline and dopamine levels, which in turn results in increased brain activity.
If you are a regular coffee consumer, these chemical changes keep occurring. The brain then produces more adenosine receptors to balance the chemistry that should naturally occur in the body. Since there are more adenosine receptors, more caffeine is needed to feel alert and energized. This is the reason why you may feel the need to drink more coffee to achieve the desired caffeine fix you enjoyed before.
Coffee can decrease suicidal thoughts. This is because caffeine has mood-improving effects. That cup of coffee may be just what is needed and at the right time to save a life.
Caffeine can relieve headaches. When you have a headache, there is an increased flow of blood to the brain which causes pressure on the nerves, causing pain/headache. Caffeine causes blood vessels to narrow thus reducing blood flow to the brain and reducing pain. However, when you suddenly stop taking coffee as a regular, you may experience a headache as a withdrawal symptom.
Caffeine can also reduce the risk of serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Stroke, and some types of cancers.
Coffee boosts energy and improves tolerance to physical activities. When you are set for a workout or planning to move out, caffeine is your answer.
Signs You are Addicted to Caffeine
Coffee has amazing effects and is generally safe to consume every day. But, if you cannot go a day without it there is a possibility you are addicted. Check out these tell-tell signs;
- Getting a headache when you miss your morning cup.
This is no ordinary slight headache, it is a pounding headache because the blood flow to your brain changes. Caffeine narrows blood vessels thus reducing blood flow to the brain. If caffeine is suddenly stopped the reverse happens and this is why you get a pounding headache.
This headache can also be accompanied by lightheadedness and dizziness.
- Being super moody and lethargic before taking coffee.
This means your body is dependent on caffeine to release adenosine and adrenaline in order for you to be happy and energetic.
If you find out that you are having sleep issues, this may mean that you are taking too much coffee. Coffee may take longer to be processed out of your system and causing stimulation of your brain when you need to actually rest.
How to Stop Coffee Addiction
There are no known strict medical procedures to stop caffeine addiction. You can discuss with your Physician on specific ways that you can improve your dependence on coffee. Remember these few tips as you start this journey;
- Take it slow. Just like any other addiction, it may be risky to stop coffee intake abruptly unless you are facing a medical emergency. Gradually reduce your cups throughout the day.
- Take a lot of water. Water will give you energy and fill your tummy up if you are in need of a drink.
- Physical exercise helps. Increase workouts even by one day a week. Exercise acts as a natural stimulant as it helps to produce adrenaline and dopamine which improve your mood.
It is likely that coffee has become addictive but you have no signs of it. This article has pointed out the negative effects that can result from caffeine addiction. These are headaches, dizziness, grumpiness, and lack of sleep. Be observant and check how you are doing often so that you can catch the negative effects early on. Taking more water, exercise, and gradual withdrawal can be of great benefit to your body if you notice that you are becoming addicted to coffee.