I’m lucky to be alive and so are the people around me.
If you stop consuming caffeine abruptly, you may experience the following symptoms: headache, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood and difficulty concentrating. Without a doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for quite a few bad days.
Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn’t threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do so it’s not considered a true addiction. I guess the people who made that determination haven’t priced coffee and creamer – neither are cheap to economic health.
In my search for a healthier me, I decided consuming coffee isn’t good for me. The adverse effects far outweigh the benefits. It should, along with other processed foods, be eliminated from my life. I did my research on the subject and decided that easing off, albeit rather quickly, would be my best bet.
I woke up each morning and took four ibuprofen, a necessity to help with the headaches. I used walking to ease most of the other symptoms. I also tried to stay well hydrated.
My goal: resist coffee as long as I could each day. When the symptoms were much to bear, I would quickly down approximately an ounce or two of regular coffee to ease them.
Adding humor to what definitely wasn’t, I joked that I was taking shots at work. I checked our employee manual and there was nothing in it about taking a shot of coffee at work, as long as it wasn’t Irish coffee.
On the first day, I made it two hours. That must be some kind of record. I felt my symptoms were more psychological. However, that was soon replaced with physical symptoms and I had them all, to varying degrees. The headache was the worst.
As the days passed, I did notice that the length of time that I could do without caffeine was getting longer.
On Monday of last week, I made it until about 2 p.m. before my headache got too bad. I took a shot of coffee.
On Tuesday, at about 3:30 p.m., I thought, “I’m going to make it through the day without coffee. Sweet!”
I’m pleased to report I haven’t had any coffee since Monday at about 2 p.m. I can still feel some of the symptoms but it’s nothing compared to the first day when I made it two hours – a record that probably won’t make it into the Guinness Book of World Records anytime soon.
My only true concern was weight gain. Although I don’t use them, there is a reason why the diet pill industry puts caffeine in its products. It’s a legal stimulant. I haven’t noticed any real change in my appetite so that’s been good.
I’m still having withdrawal symptoms. Hopefully, all those will eventually fade and I’ll feel “normal” again, if such a thing ever existed.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.