It’s Day 15, halfway through the month of December, during which time I am attempting to NOT drink coffee. And I’ve relapsed three times. I’ve rationalized the relapses as “scientific inquiry”, or “winter pick-me-up’s” but the reality is that I’m in the throes of classic addiction.
I probably need not index the stages from withdrawal to sobriety to relapse … but I do want to share some of the physical effects of espressos I have experienced after a period of abstinence. This short list serves a double purpose. As an index of the physical effects of caffeine AND a reminder to myself for reasons that I should not indulge in strong sources of caffeine.
THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE
- increased wakefulness and alertness
- increased energy
- relieved constipation and easier bowel movements
- elevated mood
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE
- increased anxiety
- nervous energy resulting in shaking hands, toe tapping, etc.
- stomach pain from higher acidic levels
- cranky mood upon withdrawal
- racing thoughts
- short, shallow breathing
- muscle tension, especially in the muscles of the face
What effects does caffeine have upon you? Should health policy makers be looking at American caffeine consumption as a danger to public health? Is coffee and caffeine the final frontier in addiction?…and what about the thoughts that drive us to take an action even after we’ve made a good attempt to abstain from that action?