Your Daily Cup of Coffee is Fueling Your Addiction

Many believe that a good cup of coffee in the morning is the perfect way to wake you up, something about the the smell gets you excited and turns your frown upside down!

I used to drink a hot cup of coffee every morning during my senior year of high school. It felt like I was an “adult” and it perked me up for the rest of the day. Coffee is certainly a wonderful creation, but, it can also have some side effects when you try to quit.

I started to quit the summer before freshman year of college. I knew that I would have the potential for early morning classes and there was no way I could get coffee every morning. Whenever I didn’t have coffee, I was a raging lunatic! I was snapping at people, and was unbearably grumpy. That is why I wanted to quit. I couldn’t go around making friends if I was cruel to them because I didn’t have a cup of joe. In my opinion, no one should rely on coffee so much that they have to have it every morning.

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Now let me tell you, cutting yourself off coffee is not easy. You have headaches for about a week and you feel like you are exhausted even after ten hours of sleep. A week may not seem like a long time, but it’s definitely irritating. You also constantly want to drink coffee because you believe the headache will go away, and that you’ll have the energy of Hercules himself.

It sounds dramatic and coffee is not a serious addiction in comparison to drugs, but it’s one that the majority of Americans face. How often do you hear college students who absolutely need that coffee before an exam or they can’t perform as well? Didn’t you watch your parents as they grabbed a cup of coffee every morning, and when they didn’t have it on vacation, they were tense all day?  

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The culprit to this addiction that many face, is caffeine. Caffeine is a chemical that is absorbed by your small intestine and dispersed throughout your blood. It is a specific chemical that allows it to enter your brain which is why you feel alert when you drink it. The Smithsonian points out that caffeine has a similar chemical structure as adenosine which binds to adenosine receptors to make you tired.  Caffeine will bind to those receptors in the brain and give you the feeling of being awake and active. If caffeine is already bound, it is blocking the adenosine from attaching to the receptors.

 In order for the body to maintain homeostasis, it will form new adenosine receptors. That way the adenosine molecules have something to bind to. Thus, when you stop drinking your brain is not getting that regular chemical it changed for, so it results in problems like headaches. This is due to the body being so used to having caffeine, that now the brain chemistry is altered and needs time to get back to normal.

Photo courtesy of Kohana Coffee Blog

Luckily, this period of withdrawal will only last from seven to twelve days if you can resist the urge for coffee or even tea. The brain changes back to its normal state before all of the caffeine and the headaches stop.

Now I’m not telling you NOT to drink coffee, because even I will continue to do so after this article. I just warn you not to rely on it every morning and to let it control how you are for the rest of the day. Change it up with some decaf coffee every once and awhile! Sure, you won’t get the energy kick, but at least you get the delicious taste! If you have any new year’s resolution, let this be it. Don’t let caffeine control your life, take control of your coffee addiction.