Someone Who Become Addicted With Caffeine Essay

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Caffeine Addiction Someone Who Become Addicted With Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine is the most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world and is commonly defined as a "…moderately strong stimulant which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, and some medications" (Addicted to caffeine). It affects the nervous system and causes an increase of insulin and adrenalin in the body. Other affects of this drug are a decrease in appetite and fine motor functions but an increase in levels of alertness (Addicted to caffeine). While it is not considered to be especially dangerous it can lead to various side-effects and withdrawal symptoms, such as increased anxiety, as well as addiction that can have negative health and social consequences.

The extent of the usage of this drug can be ascertained from the fact that in North America between eighty and ninety percent of adults and children habitually consume caffeine (Information about Caffeine Dependence). Furthermore, studies show that "…30 milligrams or less of caffeine can alter self-reports of mood and affect behavior and 100 mg per day can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon abstinence" ( Information about Caffeine Dependence).

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The fact that the intake of caffeine is accepted as a normal part of everyday life in our modern society often obscures the fact that it can have negative side effects and lead to harmful dependence. This paper will discuss this addiction as experienced by an individual who become severely dependent on this substance.

1. The symptoms and consequences of caffeine addiction

Essay on Someone Who Become Addicted With Caffeine Assignment

While experts state that caffeine does not in itself pose a life-threatening risk to health, yet there are many cases when people become addicted to caffeine. By addiction is meant those people are unable to cut down or stop their intake of caffeine, even if it is having a detrimental affect on their health. In other words, "… they continue to use caffeine despite having medical or psychological problems made worse by caffeine and they resort to caffeine to avoid experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms" ( Information about Caffeine Dependence).

The individual who became addicted to caffeine and whose case illustrates some of the most severe effects of this form of addiction will be known as Nick. Nick not only suffered from an uncontrollable addiction to coffee, drinking more than ten cups per day, but he also suffered from a psychiatric syndrome that is associated with this form of addiction; namely caffeine-induced anxiety disorder. He also experienced a sleep disorder that was related to caffeine addiction as well as severe symptoms such as anxiety.

There are also a number of other side-effects and symptoms of this addiction that should be noted. Among the most irritating is gastroesophageal reflux, a condition in which "… a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it" (GERD). Furthermore, as was evident in Nick's case, larger amounts of caffeine produced negative mood effects, the most significant of which in his case was a dramatic increase in anxiety and nervousness.

Nick began drinking coffee on a regular basis just like everybody else but he found that it helped him study late at night. He also had a fulltime job and he was convinced that coffee was helping him to deal with the demands of work. He felt that without a cup of coffee nearby he would not be able to cope with the daily demands made on him. He slowly became psychologically dependant on the substance.

As time went on he increased his daily intake of coffee and eventually found that his addiction had some severe side effects. One of these side effects was extreme anxiety. Ironically he felt that this sense of anxiety could only be curbed or controlled with more caffeine. This in fact increased the cycle of anxiety and dependence. Furthermore, he also developed a smoking habit which added to his desire for coffee and which also undermined his health.

The facets of Nick's caffeine addiction are well substantiated in the literature. One researcher notes that,

Studies have shown that high dietary doses of caffeine (200 mg or more) increase anxiety ratings and induce panic attacks in the general population. Individuals with panic and anxiety disorders are especially sensitive to the effects of caffeine (Information about Caffeine Dependence).

It is possible that Nick was already suffering from an underlying anxiety disorder which was exacerbated by the continuous and excessive intake of caffeine. Nick also drank a great deal of soft drinks. Like many people he was unaware that most colas and soft drinks contain a certain amount of caffeine. In general Nick experienced many of the symptoms common to this condition. These included withdrawal symptoms after not having had coffee for a period of time, such as headaches, fatigue, exhaustion, moodiness, flu-like symptoms, and difficulty concentrating (Am I Addicted to Caffeine?). In order to stop these symptoms he would imbibe more coffee and this had the result of increasing his anxiety and stress levels. In short, Nick became trapped in a typical cycle of addiction which became very difficult to stop. In the end this cycle began to have a negative effect on both his work and the quality of his life and he was eventually forced to seek medical and professional help.

This addiction and the caffeine withdrawal symptoms also had a deleterious effect on his home life. He began to be absent from work when he felt over-stressed or unwell. He also began to fail in terms of his daily tasks and commitments. He found that he often forgot to fetch his children from school, for example. His irritability and general ill-health also started to affect his marriage and his addiction began threatening the very structure of his family and marriage.

2. Treatment and solutions

Many medical and healthcare professionals state that the reality of caffeine addiction should be taken more seriously by the medical and healthcare community. The case of Nick as described above is proof that caffeine addiction can have a very negative affect on the individual. If we take into consideration that there are many other sources of caffeine that are part of our daily diet, such as soft drinks and chocolates, then the possibly of addiction to this substance is a very real and disconcerting reality. Caffeine can also be found in non-prescription drugs, such as various energy and stay-awake medication as well as in many weight-control aids such as Dexatrim (Common Sources of Caffeine).

In this light one pundit states that, …. caffeine addiction be taken more seriously by the medical and psychiatric fields… about 13% of people who withdraw from caffeine addiction also experience symptoms severe enough to temporarily affect ability to work. Some people feel sick, tired, or confused and may take a few days off work thinking they have the flu (Am I Addicted to Caffeine?).

Nick is a typical case of caffeine addiction in that he was under the impression that caffeine was helping him achieve and to do his work more effectively, while the opposite was in fact true. As one commentator notes,

Our bodies get used to the drug and believe that they actually run better with the substance than without it. In the long run this is a fallacy and they will feel better and be more effective after the chemical is gone. However, in the short run they will feel worse and perform worse because of the negative effects of the withdrawal of the drug (Addicted to caffeine).

There are a number of solutions and treatments for this form of addiction. Simply stopping the intake of caffeine will obviously result in a range of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are often serious and have been determined by medical health authorities to be clinically significant. This is evident from the fact the caffeine withdrawal has been included in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases or ICD-10 (Information about Caffeine Dependence). As briefly referred to above, these symptoms can include aspects such as fatigue, sleeplessness, depression and anxiety (Information about Caffeine Dependence).

Many caffeine addicts resort to exercise and fitness regimes to overcome these withdrawal symptoms. Nick found that taking up yoga was a vital part of his treatment program and these exercises and the concomitant positive attitude that was developed helped him a great deal in overcoming his addiction. In yoga, deep breathing methods and other techniques are taught which can be employed in fighting this addiction.

Nick also found that acupuncture was effective method of reducing the often severe symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. An option that is often used in cases of addiction is the services of a TFT or Thought Field therapist. This is a form of therapy that is based on the principles of acupuncture and acupressure. The therapy essentially consists of procedures that tap into acupressure points in the body. It has been found to be significantly effective in relief from anxiety… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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