Nowadays, coffee and tea are the most popular hot beverages in the world. Tea is an important part of some cultures and countries like China and Japan. Chinese used to drink tea thousands years ago. But those, who used tea and coffee for stimulating purposes, were sufits of Yemen. They drank tea in order to stay awake during prayers in 15th century. 17th century was the time when coffeehouses opened in Europe. Since then coffee and tea became a popular beverage.
Caffeine is the main chemical substance in coffee. Apart from a coffee bean, it is also found in guarrana berries, green and black tea, Kola nuts and cacao beans. Caffeine itself is a stimulating agent. It has psychotropic effects on the brain; it stimulates respiration and the heart and acts as a diuretic agent. Little have we known on the addictive affects of caffeine until studies have shown caffeine to be an addictive substance.
90% of Americans admit to consuming caffeine everyday. They ingest the substance either by drinking coffee, tea or soft drinks. The average amount of caffeine consumed by each person in the United States is 280 mg per day. This number is even higher to some Europeans. Not everybody agrees that caffeine is addictive; however it may cause physical and psychological addiction and withdrawal symptoms after discontinuation of use.
Scientists say that caffeine addiction may develop after a single cup of coffee. However, the state of caffeine addiction is more serious if more cups of coffee are consumed everyday. Therefore, for those who drink more than five cups of coffee or tea everyday, it may be harder to discontinue caffeine consumption or it may take more time in order to quit the habit of caffeine consumption.
Caffeine has various short-term effects on a human body. It stimulates the heartbeat, respiration and basal metabolic rate, and central nervous system. It also increases the production of stomach acid and urine. In addition, caffeine relaxes the smooth muscles. These effects vary from person to person and are very individual. They depend upon a person’s sensitivity to drug, the rate of a person’s metabolism, weight and frequency of the habit.
People consuming caffeine say that the substance gives them a “lift”. This may be defined that they feel more concentrated on what they do, less fatigued, less drowsy and sleepless. These effects of caffeine usually last for 30-60 minutes. Since caffeine has some effects on sleep, it is not recommended to drink caffeine containing beverages at least 5-7 hours before going to bed or planning to fall asleep. Research has shown that caffeine decreases reaction time to both auditory and visual stimuli.
Caffeine addiction symptoms
There are no certain tests to check whether a person is addicted to caffeine or not. Several aspects are used to describe caffeine as an agent causing addiction . Firstly, it causes withdrawal symptoms after a sudden discontinuation of consumption. These symptoms may vary in their extent, which usually depends upon the state of dependency and addiction. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal may include headache, fatigue or drowsiness. In addition, changes in mood, such as depressed mood or irritability, may occur. Muscles may be painful or stiff. A person with withdrawal symptoms may feel he or she is unable to concentrate. Some may experience flu-like symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting. Withdrawal symptoms may occur from 6 to 18 hours after a sudden cessation of use of caffeine.
Another aspect that describes caffeine consumption addictive is increased tolerance to the substance. This means that more and more of the drug are needed to consume in order for the same effects to develop. For example, a person who ingests coffee as a stimulant in order to stay awake will need to drink a few times more cups of coffee after a certain time of consumption to stay awake.
People, who are used to drinking caffeine containing drinks, develop cravings after discontinuation of use. This adds to psychological and mental dependency, as well as, physical addiction for caffeine.
Do not hesitate that the symptoms of drowsiness, tiredness and headaches will disappear with time and you will feel normal again even without the use of caffeine. You will avoid side effects of caffeine on your health; feel more energetic, awake and concentrated on what you do even without the addictive substance. Remember, that drinking coffee or tea alone or with your friends may be a lovely ritual; however, it is annoying when the habit becomes physical and mental addiction. To avoid that, it is best to consume caffeine wisely.