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Caffeine Effects

Updated on March 24, 2012
Did You Know that Depression is a Withdrawal Symptom of Caffeine?
Did You Know that Depression is a Withdrawal Symptom of Caffeine?

Many of us get our daily shot or shots of energy from our morning cup of joe. But, how many of us actually think about the real effects of caffeine?

Sure, many of us have heard that caffeine is not good for us, and can in fact be a danger - but, not too many of us knows exactly why.

If you have a habit of drinking coffee, and/or caffeine laden soft drinks and energy drinks, it might be to your benefit to learn the truth about the effects of caffeine.

What is Caffeine?

Many people who consume caffeine on a regular basis do not believe that it is a drug. In truth, caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world.

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that produces moderate physiological arousal. In its natural state it is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid.

The drug belongs to a group of chemicals called xanthines. Xanthines have a number of effects, but one important effect they have is the fact that they block certain receptors in the brain.

The blockage of these receptors results in stimulation and produces mild physiological and psychological arousal.

A moderate dose of caffeine is considered to be 2-4 cups a day (200 - 400 milligrams), and a heavy dose is considered to be 5 or more cups a day (500 - 800 milligrams).

In the United States, the average person consumes 280 milligrams per person per day, which means that most people are safe.

However, I am sure you can think of at least a couple of people who are consuming heavy doses - one of those people might even be you.

Dangers of Caffeine

Current research indicates that mild to heavy doses of caffeine (125 - 800 milligrams) can result in addiction and dependency quite similar to that of alcohol, cocaine and nicotine.

Power drinkers who consume higher doses (300 - 1,000 milligrams) have exhibited signs of depression, tension and anxiety.

If you are a coffee drinker who absolutely loves the taste of coffee, and not just the energy boost you get from drinking coffee, you can still have your beloved cup of joe. The thing to understand here is that you must put your caffeine consumption in check.

No one is telling you to quit your coffee "cold turkey, " the point of this article is to emphasize moderation.

In fact, research has shown that abruptly ending the consumption of caffeine, especially for those who consume medium to high dosages, usually results in a significant number of undesirable withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Intense Craving for Caffeine
  • Decreased Energy

Although these symptoms usually disappear in approximately 7 days, one can see that caffeine is obviously as real of a drug as it gets.

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    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 

      6 years ago from San Diego, CA

      great hub! caffeine is a drug, it's so funny how people judge and stigmatize certain "mood alterers" (or drugs) but not others! People who need coffee to get through the day shouldn't ever judge a drug addict... they are one too in a mild form, only their drug of choice just happens to be legal and non-stigmatized!

    • profile image

      JBunce 

      6 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      This is one of the most useful hubs I've read in a long time. I used to be a caffeine addict but have succeeded in getting myself "unhooked"... probably for the best because the older I've gotten the less I'm able to handle even small doses. All I ever do any more is an occasional cup of Chai tea, maybe once every few weeks at most. Thanks for the info. I'm sure it will be helpful for a lot of other people too.

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