Is Coffee Really Addictive?
Most adults caffeine, whether in coffee, soda, energy drinks, or chocolate. Many are also familiar with the effects of suddenly drinking less coffee than usual: tiredness, headaches, insomnia, and other symptoms. And many people talk about being “addicted” to their morning coffee or energy drink! But is caffeine truly addictive?
It’s all about the dopamine
The world’s caffeine obsession can be described as a “dependency” – because when you have less of it, you go through a mild “withdrawal,” with the symptoms listed above, but it is not an addiction.
It is true that—like many drugs—caffeine enhances dopamine signaling in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that helps control movement, motivation, and emotions, so enhanced dopamine signaling makes a person feel more awake and alert. Because caffeine produces that alert feeling, it’s classified as a stimulant.
you stop taking caffeine abruptly, you may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if you consume two or more cups of coffee a day. Symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine include:
- depressed mood
- difficulty concentrating
No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause the severity of withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors as street drugs or alcohol. For this reason, most experts don’t consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction.
So, the next time somebody tells you you may be addicted to coffee, remind them coffee may be addicted to YOU!
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