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Caffeine addiction?

#1
It's been from a couple of year that I'm on and off with caffeine addiction.
It goes like this. Prolonged period with no caffeine at all, I feel great. Then I start drinking a lot of coffee because I know it will boost my will power.
The first two days are great, except I barely sleep. So after this couple of days I feel like sh*t.
So I say to myself "ok, tomorrow I will not drink any coffee at all."
Then tomorrow comes and I get this crave for caffeine, like if I feel not "operational" until I drink coffee.
If I resist it and I don't drink coffee for let's say a couple of days to a week (or more, if I've been drinking coffee for many days in a row), I come back to my "normal" self, where I am operational again without any need for caffeine.
I must say that in the past I've taken all sort of drugs, even the "heavy" ones, even for prolonged periods of time, and I've never had any problem at all. Even now I could take drugs casually without developing any desire to take the drug again.
Has anyone had a similar problem with caffeine or other "boosters"?
How do you deal with withdrawal?
Basically I know that if I stop drinking coffee today, from tomorrow on it will be a week where I won't have any energy to focus on study. And I don't want that. So maybe if you have some suggestions to help my body and mind recover both sleep and energy faster, it will be great.

PS: not saying that coffee is worst than opioids or alcohol, but considering it's so widely consumed and accepted as a harmless food, I think it's withdrawal symptoms and its addiction potential is quite high, at least for me.
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#2
I occasionally have a month or so of no caffeine, just to check that I can. And for me a big part of why I drink coffee is just habit and the comfort of a hot drink, so I drink decaf about half the time, especially in the afternoon and evening.

I think generally if you're going to cut out caffeine it's recommended to cut down gradually rather than going cold turkey.
Edited: 2017-03-14, 1:02 pm
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#3
I thought I was maybe addicted to coffee and a friend told me "if you stop you'll have headaches".. but when I stopped drinking coffee, while eg. going on Vipassana retreat; I had no headache. Last month also as an experiment I stopped drinking coffee for about two weeks. I did have a very mild headache one day and then it was gone.

I did however replace cofee with a caffeinated tea from Yogi Tea called Perfect Energy.

Different suggestions:

- replace coffee with something less strong ?

- drink less, but drink a good coffee. Nowadays I'm used to make one with a small bialetti. It never tastes as good as the one I can drink at a coffee shop .. but never theless I drink one like that in the morning and the afternoon I drink various teas from Yogi Tea. I'm not at all a tea person, and I like the Ypgi Tea breand because they actually taste something. They have lots of mixes that don't use green / black tea.

My main suggestion is I don't see the point of quitting coffee honestly. One to two cups a day is fine. If you stop altogether it has no immediate purpose and will have those detrimental effects you mentioned.

if you eat chocolate every day, 5 times a day, it 's not really tasty anymore is it? So my philosophy is, drink less of the stuff, but make sure when you do you enjoy it Smile

Personally my issue with coffee is that its so hard to make a GOOD one at home. The only half decent one I make now is when I buy the grains at the market every 2 weeks and grind it with a small manual grinder. And I almost never feel the caffeine kick when I drink it even though I brew it with a bialetti and semi fresh beans. And all the stuff I bought at the store like Segafredo, Lavazza, Illy.. it tastes even worse in the Bialetti. o_O

ps: i guess another pt is that with my routine I have to clean the bialetti and grind the beans. It's a psychological trick.. which I find hilarious... I' m too lazy to prepare this coffee 3 times a day :p .. which is also why I'm wary of buying a good coffee machine.
Edited: 2017-03-14, 1:18 pm
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JapanesePod101
#4
(2017-03-14, 12:57 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: It's been from a couple of year that I'm on and off with caffeine addiction.
It goes like this. Prolonged period with no caffeine at all, I feel great. Then I start drinking a lot of coffee because I know it will boost my will power.
The first two days are great, except I barely sleep. So after this couple of days I feel like sh*t.
So I say to myself "ok, tomorrow I will not drink any coffee at all."
Then tomorrow comes and I get this crave for caffeine, like if I feel not "operational" until I drink coffee.
If I resist it and I don't drink coffee for let's say a couple of days to a week (or more, if I've been drinking coffee for many days in a row), I come back to my "normal" self, where I am operational again without any need for caffeine.
I must say that in the past I've taken all sort of drugs, even the "heavy" ones, even for prolonged periods of time, and I've never had any problem at all. Even now I could take drugs casually without developing any desire to take the drug again.
Has anyone had a similar problem with caffeine or other "boosters"?
How do you deal with withdrawal?
Basically I know that if I stop drinking coffee today, from tomorrow on it will be a week where I won't have any energy to focus on study. And I don't want that. So maybe if you have some suggestions to help my body and mind recover both sleep and energy faster, it will be great.

PS: not saying that coffee is worst than opioids or alcohol, but considering it's so widely consumed and accepted as a harmless food, I think it's withdrawal symptoms and its addiction potential is quite high, at least for me.

I used to drink a lot of caffeine but I noticed the same things as you and I realized a caffeine addiction is more of a burden than a useful tool.  The thing I noticed most is that after several months of a certain level daily caffeine, I don't notice the positive effects anymore.  I only feel the negative effects of not having enough caffeine.  I also hated running around searching for a coffee shop because my caffeine level was running low.  I felt like an addict.

I'm much happier now drinking decaf.  Yeah I know, I thought the idea of decaf was ridiculous too, but drinking the occasional decaf in a cafe when I really feel like it is much more enjoyable than my mad rush to get some caffeine into my system ever was.

And I really do think I get more work done on decaf.
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#5
Thank you guys for the suggestions and for the psychological support ._. lol
Maybe I'm overreacting? But yes, caffeine withdrawal gives me all sorts of bad symptoms, and I'm sure it's not placebo because the first time I had them I didn't even realize it was because of caffeine :/
I think the main problem is the quantity, I drink a lot of it all at once. I don't know for sure but I suspect that my caffeine intake is near 300 mg, maybe even more?
But yes, if it wasn't for the negative effects I won't give a f*ck about addiction, but as yogert says after some time it gives only negative effects so I think I'll end drinking it starting from tomorrow.
And btw I don't even like the taste of coffee, which is strange because it seems that for many italian people it's a sort of tradition (?)
So yeah... I will stop from tomorrow and I'll see how I do... thank again for the help!
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#6
Too much of everything is bad for you. And, obviously, caffeine is a stimulant, so if you drink it late in the day, you won't be able to sleep.

But there's been a lot of studies on moderate, regular and controlled use by healthy adults, and they've shown no significant negative effects. Which leaves the positive effect: it stimulates you, allowing you to be more alert and focused. If used correctly, of course: in moderation, with regular, controlled doses, and NOT as a substitute for sleep.

I use 150 mgs/day, spread out through the morning (I go with an energy drink rather than coffee, because it has a lower concentration of caffeine, and doesn't require any preparation). And it does the job, makes it easier to focus on work for a few hours, without any negative side effects. I make sure to control the dosage, I never mix it with alcohol, and I never use it to try and stay awake when I need sleep. I use it strictly for a little extra stimulation, early in the day.

As for addiction, there's a difference between dependence and addiction. Dependence means that withdrawal will have negative effects. Addiction means that you CAN'T stop using something, or you find it difficult to stop using it.

Quote:Basically I know that if I stop drinking coffee today, from tomorrow on it will be a week where I won't have any energy to focus on study. And I don't want that.
That's not addiction. Addiction means that you can't stop using a drug, even if you want to. You just don't want to stop, because you want the stimulation it provides.

P.S. If you are having trouble sleeping, try Melatonin. It's not really a "sleeping pill", it certainly doesn't knock you out, but it does help to control your sleep cycles (out of whack sleep cycles tend to be the problem for most people with insomnia).
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#7
(2017-03-14, 2:57 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: I think the main problem is the quantity, I drink a lot of it all at once. I don't know for sure but I suspect that my caffeine intake is near 300 mg, maybe even more?

So yeah... I will stop from tomorrow and I'll see how I do... thank again for the help!
There is plenty of middle ground between 'lots all at once' and 'none at all' -- I feel like part of your problem is just that you keep bouncing between two extremes.
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#8
to Stansfield123: in fact I wondered what is the difference between addiction and dipendence, I thought they were synonims, so thank you for the clarification!

I'll definitely try melatonin, thank you for the suggestion!

(2017-03-14, 3:27 pm)pm215 Wrote:
(2017-03-14, 2:57 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: I think the main problem is the quantity, I drink a lot of it all at once. I don't know for sure but I suspect that my caffeine intake is near 300 mg, maybe even more?

So yeah... I will stop from tomorrow and I'll see how I do... thank again for the help!
There is plenty of middle ground between 'lots all at once' and 'none at all' -- I feel like part of your problem is just that you keep bouncing between two extremes.

Yeah, you're right, but I've tried to take less and after a while I realize is not enough so I take more Rolleyes
Edited: 2017-03-14, 3:34 pm
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#9
If you have headaches when you stop drinking it, you drink it too often. That's about it. "I need it when I wake up" is actually kind of normal for stimulants in general, even if you're not addicted. It means that there's something chemically wrong with your brain, or with how you live your life (for most people it's unnatural sleep schedules, sometimes caused by stimulants like caffeine), that the stimulant makes up for partially. I stopped "needing" caffeine when my ADHD finally started being officially medicated and I embraced my non-24-hour sleep cycle disorder.

It's not really an addiction as such. There's definitely minor withdrawal effects from caffeine, but it's not something that you have to keep doing more and more of, where if you try to stop consuming it for real, you can't, where so much as having a little bit of it again makes you go back on it.
Edited: 2017-03-14, 3:43 pm
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#10
(2017-03-14, 3:27 pm)pm215 Wrote: There is plenty of middle ground between 'lots all at once' and 'none at all' -- I feel like part of your problem is just that you keep bouncing between two extremes.

I agree completely.  Just find a dose that's good for you, and you'll be fine.  Well, almost certainly.  There probably are some  people who can't tolerate caffeine well, but that seems to be very rare.
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#11
It sounds to me like you really binge hard on caffeine when you start taking it. You should not be immediately going to so much caffeine that you barely sleep. Avoid coffee or tea in the late afternoon, yes, even if you're a night owl. I find I need a good seven hours between my last coffee and sleep. And that's just to get to sleep at all. If you want good quality sleep it should be 9 hours or more since your last sip of caffeine.

Also as someone who just beat an intense caffeine addiction that I stumbled into when I started my third language and was going hard on that, I suggest keeping coffee for special occasions when you really need that boost, or you're feeling a little down and tired and need some hot comfort as well as the caffeine dose.

I also recommend against drinking super strong coffee. Two shots i loads to get you wired even if you drink slowly. If two shots is not enough, then you're drinking too much caffeine, as three shots can literally last me my whole day.
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#12
I'm dealing with the same thing now. I've tried going cold turkey in the past, and I end up missing the warmth and the comfort coffee provides me. On the opposite extreme, if I let myself go wild and drink *nothing but* coffee, I end up feeling dizzy and disoriented.

I'm currently at around 2-3 cups/day, which is a good compromise - it provides the comfort and pleasure without any of the harmful side effects.
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#13
2 - 3 cups a day is pretty good. I'd recommend from there you can make one of those decaf. And then work your way to having a week or two caffeine free. It really gives you a new appreciation for the flavour and feeling of coffee when it's a sometimes thing.
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#14
Dear OP, I've read through your post and some of the comments to it. Hm. 
First of, I believe you need immediate professional help, maybe a psychiatric evaluation, since your post is pretty alarming on many levels, even to me, a non-professional.
Addiction to caffeine aside, taking heavy drugs is a huge problem. As I understand, you still take them occasionally? Not good.
I'm not sure what you mean by "addiction", taking a quick look online, what you describe (on-off periods) doesn't seem to fit (https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffein...-diagnosis).
Are you even sure you are addicted?
Common effects of caffeine consumption do NOT include boosting willpower (http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/6/432), as you said. That's entirely on you. You THINK it boosts, and it does. It's called placebo effect. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo)
I don't know you (and I think this goes for all posters in this thread), so giving any relevant, useful advice without knowing your exact circumstances is hard. My shot is:
- Seek professional help about the drugs / willpower issues.
- Try the middle ground with caffeine. Drink every day, wean it off, but not completely, keep it to the absolute minimum.
I'm not trying to insult you (or anybody), I'm just giving you some tips, if you find my post insulting in any way, please PM/post and I'll remove it.
Cheers.
Edited: 2017-03-15, 4:19 am
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#15
Another suggestion is try to replace some of it in the day.

Some months ago I started drinking hot chocolate. I prefer it in the evening after my last meal, and at least 4h before bed so usually around 8-9pm at the latest.

I bought Cocoa powder that doesn't have any added sugar or anything else. Not Ovomaltine and the like, Just pure cocoa powder (ie. "Kwatta"). Sometimes I add a little bit of cinnamon in it which adds a nice flavour to it. About a full coffee spoon of cocoa powder in a large cup of milk. I find it is quite tasty on its own without any added sugar, and it has a strong flavor plus the warmth that most of us like from coffee.
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#16
Damn Raschevarak that seems a little much tbqh.
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#17
(2017-03-15, 6:25 am)NinKenDo Wrote: Damn Raschevarak that seems a little much tbqh.

Well, like I said, I'm happy to delete it, if requested. Let's wait for the OP's response.
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#18
Sorry if I answer only now!
Tonight I was so tired that I managed to sleep regardless of the caffeine and today I didn't take any coffee.
I'm still tired because of the lack of sleep but I'll recover in the next days.
I managed to study one hour this morning so in the end I'm happy xD

@Raschaverak why would I feel insulted by your message? xD Thank you for taking the time and efford to write it Tongue
About the "will power" I mean this:

"The primary effect of caffeine is to relieve fatigue and enhance mental performance. " Taken from the article you linked, maybe "will power" was the wrong term Tongue

Well, thank you all for the suggestions!
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#19
Find alternatives. Kratom is a cousin of the coffee plant (it has alkaloids as opposed to caffeiene) . Adrenafil is the uncontrolled version of modafinil. Don't do them everyday but if you put coffee in the mix you only need to take each one once every 3 days. No more withdrawal/tolerance issues.

But if you are susceptible to addiction thus might not be a good idea though!
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#20
(2017-03-15, 10:38 am)cophnia61 Wrote: "The primary effect of caffeine is to relieve fatigue and enhance mental performance. " Taken from the article you linked, maybe "will power" was the wrong term Tongue

Well, I'm not an expert on mental performance, but actually I am interested in the topic. Bottom line is: caffeine alone is definitely not enough. I don't really know the details (chemical reactions in the nerveous system, ect.) but what I recall, is that caffeine only stimulates the nervous system, but does not provide "fuel" for it. What I'm getting at, is that caffeine + "fuel for the brain" is a good combination. What the latter part is, you have to figure it out for yourself, everyone is different, but the brain works on sugar (glucose), so that's a good starting point.
If you really want performance boost, ask a doctor, a pharmacist, or lurk around in forums for medical students Wink
That always does the trick.  

Too much caffeine is not good anyway:

http://lifehacker.com/5585217/what-caffe...your-brain
http://www.livestrong.com/article/409740...us-system/
https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adren...-symptoms/
Edited: 2017-03-15, 11:20 am
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#21
I've been drinking one cup of coffee a day for years... and when I had to go without I would get a headache in the evening. For various reasons I decided to stop drinking coffee, so what I did was gradually replace the coffee grounds with Teeccino until there was no coffee left (it took a 1-2 weeks). I had no withdrawal at all, but I quickly switched to decaf because Teeccino wasn't as satisfying in taste. I drink decaf now and for me, it tastes just as good as my regular as long as I make it extra strong. I only drink coffee for the taste/habit, and not for energy or anything.

I've never been sensitive to the effects of caffeine, but my sister on the other hand has a similar reaction to cophnia61. She gets irritable if she goes a day without coffee, and when she replaces coffee with tea or decaf she feels better overall. Then she starts drinking coffee again and the cycle repeats.
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#22
FWIW,  As you might imagine, the US military has done extensive testing of caffeine vis a vis performance enhancement.  For people interested in the efficacy of caffeine for performance enhancement this link is a good read.

Also, I remember reading a few years ago, about a few chemicals[1] in tea that alter the effects of caffeine in the body moderating some of the undesirable effects.  People who don't want to give up their caffeine might consider trying out tea for week or two.
Edited: 2017-03-15, 2:28 pm
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#23
I'm pretty addicted and drink about 4-5 cups per day. Not planning to stop though, since that recent study came out talking about the health benefits of drinking that much coffee. Best news I had in a long time.
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#24
(2017-03-17, 3:16 pm)ChestnutMouse Wrote: I'm pretty addicted and drink about 4-5 cups per day. Not planning to stop though, since that recent study came out talking about the health benefits of drinking that much coffee. Best news I had in a long time.

Lol, your commentary reminded me of this video about scientific studies (cannot help but link it, it's so good...), concretely from around 14:00 onwards (though I recommend watching it full). They also talk -albeit tangentially- about coffee around the second minute or so:

(BIG DISCLAIMER: It's John Oliver at his finest, expect some controversial statements about politics, religion, global warming and such; if you tend to feel offended by this kind of humor, consider yourself warned -and, if that's the case, well, I can't help but feel really, really sorry for you-)

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#25
lol I'll watch that video as soon as I get on my pc :p
fortunately I'm not easily offended xD
ah! apparently nicotine decreases caffeine effect. I've tried it and it seems to fight caffeine induced insomnia
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