Addicted to caffeine?

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Regular caffeine consumption can lead to mild addiction, with withdrawal symptoms including headaches, fatigue, and moodiness. Addiction is defined by the inability to stop, but caffeine addiction is controversial due to its mild effects. Some people may experience severe withdrawal symptoms, but most subside within a few days. Caffeine can have both positive and negative health effects.

Most people who use caffeine regularly, even consuming one caffeine soda or cup of coffee a day, form a mild caffeine addiction. Some doctors call this addiction severe, while others believe that withdrawal from caffeine addiction is not as severe as from other forms of addiction. The question of whether caffeine is a dangerous addiction is a very controversial point.

One of the standard tests for defining addiction is that people are unable to stop, even if the addiction causes them to self-harm or causes irreparable damage to their families or lives. Few people who use caffeine in small amounts harm their families. Also, most people who have to stop using caffeine for medical reasons do so, even though they may experience some physical comforts.

People who are caffeine addicted usually consume about 100 mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to about half a cup of coffee. So people who drink one cup of coffee a day would be considered addicted.

Caffeine addiction is further defined by withdrawal experiences. Withdrawal symptoms of caffeine addiction can occur between 12-24 hours after the last dose of caffeine. The most common symptoms are headaches, fatigue, exhaustion, moodiness, flu-like symptoms such as body aches and difficulty concentrating. Most people who stop using caffeine cite headaches and feeling tired as their primary symptoms.

According to Roland Griffiths, who argues that caffeine addiction is taken more seriously in the medical and psychiatric fields, about 13 percent of people who withdraw from caffeine addiction also experience symptoms severe enough to temporarily affect their ability to work. Some people feel sick, tired or confused and may take a few days off thinking they have the flu.

Most caffeine addiction symptoms subside within a few days of the last caffeine intake. Some people may continue to experience symptoms for up to nine days after the last dose. Many turn back to caffeine to stop symptoms, suggesting they are using caffeine not for fun, but as a way to refrain from having withdrawal symptoms.

Questions remain about the degree of harm caused by caffeine intake in general and whether caffeine addiction is serious. Certainly some people have health conditions that can be exacerbated by caffeine. Caffeine can increase breast tenderness during PMS and may be linked to other health conditions.
There are also some health benefits of using caffeine. It can, for example, help your heart rate accelerate more quickly during an aerobic workout, which can promote more weight loss. Taken in small quantities it can slightly suppress the appetite. Therefore, some in the medical field call the research on caffeine addiction overblown. However, research establishes that many people are addicted to caffeine and that quitting can be uncomfortable to say the least.

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