THE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY USED PSYCHOACTIVE DRUG
What do you think is humanity’s favorite psychoactive drug? Is it the illustrious Mary Jane? The infamous Molly? Caffeine, the active stimulant in coffee, tea, chocolates, and various caffeinated beverages, is the most widely used psychoactive drug. Like Beyoncé, its allure has seduced cultures across the globe.2
HOW CAFFEINE AFFECTS THE BODY
Why is the world so hooked on this psychoactive drug?
Caffeine is enticing because of the range of effects it has on the body. Caffeine elicits feelings of alertness, may improve cognition, and may alter mood and energy.3 Caffeine’s is so potent because the body is particularly efficient at metabolizing the chemical. This world-dominating psychoactive drug is completely absorbed by the body in approximately 45 minutes! Its symptoms can range from an hour and a half to nine and a half hours, depending on various physiological attributes.2
What exactly does caffeine do while flowing through your body?
That depends on the dosage. Low dosages of caffeine, such as one or two cups of coffee, have been reported to onset happiness, alertness, energy, and sociability. On the flip-side, however, high doses of caffeine have been reported to invoke the onset of anxiety, the jitters, and irritable bowels.1 Too many cups of coffee can turn into too much time on the pooper.
THE DARK SIDE OF COFFEE
The world’s affinity to caffeine may be the result of a much more sinister affliction; caused by the religious, habitual consumption of the drug.
Caffeine withdrawal syndrome, onset by discontinuing consumption of the psychoactive, has persistent, crippling symptoms. Helpless habitual caffeine consumers are dragged back to the drug like heroin addicts to the needle.
Caffeine withdrawal syndrome is a lot like experiencing a bad breakup. Victims experience headache, depression, and a host of specific symptoms that vary depending on the individual.1 Another haunting component of caffeine withdrawal is how quickly it starts. The symptoms set in as early as 12 hours after caffeine cessation, and may last up to nine days.1 Experiencing long bouts of withdrawals soon after consuming caffeine can have most people running to the nearest coffee shop for a caffeine fix.
HOW CAN YOU KICK THE CAFFEINE ADDICTION?
Quitting cold turkey could have devastating, debilitating side effects. One study reports that the best way to quit the world’s favorite psychoactive drug is to gradually decrease consumption of coffee over time.1 This way the addict can decrease their dependence on caffeine in a way that offers minimal effects on the psyche and body.
1. Sajadi-Ernazarova K, Hamilton R. Caffeine, Withdrawal. [Updated 2017 May 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2017 Jun-.
2. Cappelletti, Simone et al. “Caffeine: Cognitive and Physical Performance Enhancer or Psychoactive Drug?” Current Neuropharmacology 13.1 (2015): 71–88. PMC. Web. 25 June 2017.
3. Kuhman, Daniel J., Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. “Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women.” Nutrients 7.11 (2015): 9618–9632. PMC. Web. 27 June 2017.