Dependence on caffeine and coffee: how to reduce it, causes and symptoms

Although the coffee It is characterized by being one of the most consumed beverages in the whole world, especially in our country (together with tea), it becomes one of the liquids around which many myths or beliefs are certainly erroneous.

One of the best known is the alleged relationship between the caffeine and addiction. That is, the myth that Caffeine creates addiction It is a widespread belief that, as a myth, has really little truth.

The reality is that, at least for the time being, most of the scientific studies carried out in this regard have only shown that the caffeine It does not create addiction. But yes dependence.

It is what is known as dependence on caffeine (one). And it should not be confused with the addiction, since they are completely different disorders.

  • Coffee, caffeine and addiction: causes, symptoms, consequences and how to avoid it

Why does dependence on caffeine appear?

The caffeine It is a substance capable of stimulating the transmission of nerve impulses through neurons, which is why it tones the organism and provides vitality.

Since coffee is one of the richest drinks in caffeine, it is always a good idea to have a good cup of freshly picked coffee, because it helps us wake up and activate.

But when a person is very used to coffee, and has been consuming coffee cups for a long period of time, it also gives rise to a certain dependence. This dependence occurs most of the time because when we get used to the effects of caffeine, we need a higher dose to be able to enjoy the same effects.

Put another way: we tend to exceed the amount of caffeine recommended per day, so that we end up consuming a greater amount of the advised.

For example, It is best to take no more than 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day, the equivalent to 200 mg. of caffeine per day. Dependence tends to appear when we exceed 400 mg. per day, although it is true that there have been cases of dependence on caffeine in doses of no more than 100 mg.

Therefore, whether or not there is dependence on this drink will also depend on each person individually, probably because it depends on how sensitive they are to the effects of this substance.

For this reason, it is quite common for certain symptoms related to caffeine dependence When a person can not take their usual dose of coffee, or simply leave it.

Symptoms of coffee and caffeine dependence

When there is dependence on caffeine, it is quite common that typical symptoms arise, which in fact are usually associated with the known as the withdrawal syndrome. Among the most common signs or symptoms, we can mention:

  • Headache.
  • Nervousness and irritability.
  • Sickness.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Tremors
  • Feeling tired.

It is also common for anxiety and / or depression to arise, difficulty concentrating and being able to work normally, as well as a certain deterioration in the state of both alertness and cognitive performance.

How to reduce the symptoms associated with dependence on caffeine?

Taking into account that when a person habituates to consume every day between one to two cups of coffee regularly, a habit has been created, a dependence whose lack causes the appearance of the typical symptoms that arise when there is a dependency, the best way is to try to reduce little by little the number of cups of coffee that we drink per day.

That is, one of the best recommendations that can be given to prevent and avoid these symptoms is to reduce the consumption of coffee and foods rich in caffeine (let's not forget the chocolate), but little by little and with a certain patience. The key is to gradually reduce your consumption over the course of the weeks.

As we proposed at the time in a previous note entitled How to reduce coffee and take less each day until it is completely eliminatedIf, for example, you tend to drink 3 cups of coffee a day (breakfast, lunch and snack), you can start by reduce the size of the cup, or the amount of coffee you serve each time.

It is also possible to opt for substitutes and alternatives to coffee, such as infusions made with plants and herbs, or popular cereal drinks made with chicory, which become one of the most common options for its slightly more intense flavor (which in many cases tends to remind coffee).

  • Coffee substitutes: the best alternatives to caffeine
See references consulted

(1) Ricardo Pardo Lozano, Yolanda Alvarez Garcia, Diego Barral Tafalla, Magí Farré Albaladejo. Caffeine: a nutrient, a drug, or a drug of abuse. Addictions 2007, 19 (3). Available at //ddd.uab.cat/pub/artpub/2007/69366/02144840v19n3p225.pdf [PDF] This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor. ThemesCoffee

Caffeine Medical Minute with Family Physician Dr. Richard Honaker (September 2019)