It’s so much a part of our culture that we don’t even consider it a drug. But don’t be fooled, caffeine acts in similar ways to a stimulant and is addictive. People claim they “have to have a cup in the morning or they can’t wake up”. This isn’t the least bit surprising when you realize that caffeine stays in your system for 10-12 hours so that many people start every morning in the middle of a caffeine withdrawal.
The following is a great article written about the metabolism of caffeine from a study done at Duke University called “The Real Deal: Caffeine”.
It’s true that caffeine is different than stimulants such as adrenaline, epinephrine and meth-amphetamine. It doesn’t turn on the flight or fight response. Caffeine works by slowing down the process by which the flight or fight response is turned off. Being addicted to caffeine is like being chased by a tiger all day, everyday. Is it any wonder so many people feel stressed and exhausted? If that weren’t enough the solution to exhaustion is having another cup of caffeine.
Caffeine is usually associated with coffee but tea, many soft drinks and chocolate all contain high doses of caffeine. Even decaf coffee is not caffeine free but contains about 1/10 the caffeine of regular coffee.
I am not promoting avoiding all caffeine unless you have adrenal exhaustion, insomnia or diabetes (the flight or fight response raises blood glucose levels). Using caffeine is a choice. But make it an informed choice. Small amounts on occasion should not be harmful. But if you have insomnia, high levels of stress, nervous anxiety or exhaustion, think about how much caffeine you are consuming and if it might be a contributor to your health concerns. Consider reducing or eliminating caffeine for a time or only consuming it in a form you really love and then only as a treat and not as a habit.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be a substitute for personal, professional, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.