My name is camille.
I ask a lot of questions.
COFFEE: PART II
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!: ADDICTION AND WITHDRAWAL
All coffee drinkers have probably experienced them… fatigue, irritability, fogginess, confusion: the symptoms of skipping your morning cup of joe. Did you know that the effects are so significant that the American Psychiatric Association actually considers it a mental disorder?
Now you have a medical excuse. You’re welcome.
Last week I introduced my complicated relationship with coffee by explaining how caffeine works in the body. Today, if you haven’t figured it out already, I want to address what is happening when you go without your usual caffeine. This involves all the negative withdrawal symptoms :/
PS if you really haven't figured it out already, the owl is how you feel on coffee withdrawal. Suh-LEEEE-py. ZZzzzzzz.
When you drink caffeinated drinks regularly, your body starts to adapt. Your brain actually begins to grow adenosine receptors in order to receive the caffeine chemical*. (You’re putting in all this caffeine, and the body needs a place to store it, right?). This means that over time, you need more caffeine to fill those receptors to get the same effect. That’s the addiction.
*(See previous post for image)
So here’s the withdrawal part:
You’re getting more and more of these adenosine receptors. (Remember that adenosine is meant to signal to your body that it’s tired and slow your body down. Again, read Part I). Remember that, because of your coffee drinking, you have grown all these receptors that are shaped to receive adenosine--this hormone that signals “you’re tired!”. But when you don’t receive the expected caffeine (like not drinking your regular coffee), here’s what’s happening: you have all these receptors meant to take caffeine, but no caffeine comes. And remember that those receptors are ADENOSINE receptors in the first place. Caffeine fits into them, but they really are meant for ADENOSINE.
So ADENOSINE floods right in.
SO NOW not only do you NOT have the caffeine blocking the “tired receptors” and increasing levels of adrenaline in your brain (see previous post), you now have tired signals there telling you to SLOW DOWN.
Again, before you get too alarmed, you should know that these effects are reversible. Your body is amazing. When you cut out caffeine, your body will notice and eventually decrease those extra adenosine receptors. BUT just note that this’ll take 1-2 weeks.
Because you can increase receptors for caffeine, my suggestion is to drink caffeine in moderation and most especially not to increase your intake over time. I only say that because you do create those receptors with regular caffeine intake, and unfortunately rely on them to be filled to even function normally. So according to this, I figure, “why help increase the amount you rely on?” Accept that cup of coffee for everything good that it is (more on this in the final, part-III post next week on caffeine!) and stay away from excess consumption!
Leave a Reply.
My name is Camille.