Caffeine allergies are situations in which an individual experiences a severe and sometimes life-threatening reaction to the ingestion of any type of caffeine. Unlike caffeine intolerance, people suffering with this type of allergy cannot consume even tiny amounts of caffeine without endangering their physical and emotional well-being.
Like many drugs, caffeine affects the function of the brain and triggers a number of reactions within the body. For many people, consuming small amounts of beverages or foods that contain caffeine provides a temporary increase in energy and enhances mental focus. A person who is allergic is not likely to experience any of these benefits, however. Instead, people with an allergic reaction to caffeine are more likely to find the experience to be extremely traumatic both physically and mentally.
Rather than cultivating a sense of focus and energy, the drug triggers unwelcome mental and emotional responses. Focusing on even simple tasks become increasingly difficult. The individual may begin to feel somewhat paranoid, suffer from delusions, and even experience hallucinations. In extreme situations, the outward reaction may resemble that of a severe anxiety attack.
Along with the mental and emotional symptoms, a caffeine allergy may also trigger a number of unwelcome physical symptoms. The heart may begin to race, triggering a response somewhat like angina. Quick and jerky movements in the muscles may occur. Vision may begin to blur. Overall, the individual may feel as if the body is rebelling and about to shut down.
The process for diagnosing an allergy involves a two pronged approach. First, since all the symptoms associated with the allergic reaction can also be associated with other physical and mental ailments, it is often necessary to test for those health issues first and remove them from consideration. At the same time, a medical professional may also conduct blood work and other testing to determine if caffeine is being expelled from the system properly. Often, people with this type of allergy do not process and eliminate caffeine in the same manner as others who are not hindered with this condition. Once all relevant factors are investigated, it is then possible to diagnose the allergy and determine the proper course of treatment.
When it comes to allergy treatment strategies, the main line of defense comes with removing any and all foods and beverages containing the drug from the diet. In extreme cases, this also means stopping the use of products that are marketed as decaffeinated, since many of these items still contain very small traces of the drug. Along with eliminating these products from daily consumption, it is also a good idea for people with allergies to look for substitutions. Doing so helps to minimize the sense of loss that comes with giving up favorite foods and drinks, and increases the chances that the sufferer will be able to avoid the temptation to have just one cup of coffee or a bite of chocolate cake.