There are times when old wives' tales or urban legends are based in reality. This is probably never more true than in the case of a potential caffeine addiction. It seems to be a fact that millions of people around the world do not function well at all without their morning cup of caffeine-laden tea or coffee.
However is such a need truly a caffeine addiction, or is it a psychological habit? In truth, the jury is still out on this question. Despite years of research involving thousands of hours and untold millions of dollars, the positives and negatives of caffeine continue to be open for debate.
One thing that can be stated with certainty is that any addiction, to any substance or activity, is potentially dangerous. Plain and simple, caffeine is a drug. Even though both the United States Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association consider it a “safe drug,” there can undoubtedly be problems related to overindulgence. Too much of even a good thing is simply too much.
If a person feels they suffer from a caffeine addiction, he is probably correct. If one experiences severe withdrawal symptoms when they miss their regular dose of caffeine, it is perhaps a sign of addiction. These symptoms, which can include shaking, nervousness, headaches, and irritability, are indicators of addiction. On the other hand, these same symptoms can occur if one consumes too much caffeine.
Is a caffeine addiction dangerous? In a sense, if an individual feels they cannot function well without ingesting a given substance, the answer would be yes. Is a caffeine addiction dangerous in the sense of it being life threatening? In that case, the answer would virtually always be no.
Different people have different tolerances. The amount of caffeine that might prove addictive to one person might have little or no affect on another. While a caffeine addiction could not be considered deadly, it could easily be considered highly unpleasant.
If one is caffeine addicted, and attempts to kick the habit, he will likely experience headaches, insomnia, and irritability. He might be afflicted with dizziness, mild confusion, or stomach pain. There is also some evidence that there is a link between caffeine intake and erectile dysfunction. Again, however, these same symptoms can take place when one consumes too much caffeine.
If a person does believe she is addicted to caffeine, and believe it is causing her problems in life, the best course is to attempt a gradual reduction in usage. As is true with many of the substances we eat and drink, a good rule of thumb is “moderation in all things.” That might be something to consider over that next cup of coffee.