Every year, from November through December, I consume a lot of coffee. The oncoming chill begs the consumption of hot, tasty drinks that just happen to be infused with caffeine, which I find necessary in battling the hibernation instinct the mammal in me wants to give in to during the cold months.
However my coffee splurging creates a problem: caffeine dependence. Inevitably, after months of my java regimen, I tire of it. Like clockwork, the day after my “last” cup, the headache and the shakes begin.
Regular use of caffeine can cause mild dependence. How you experience withdrawal from this dependence is unique to the individual. In addition to the symptoms I already mentioned, abruptly stopping caffeine use can cause fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and even flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches.
While some might consider these side-effects indicative of coffee’s bad-for-you reputation, researchers have found that coffee greatly reduces the risk of several diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It also has antioxidants that prevent free radicals from destroying cells.
So while there’s no need to permanently push away the coffee, if you find yourself wanting (or needing) to quit the caffeine, there are ways you can wean yourself off that should help you forgo the pain of cold turkey.
Stay hydrated – Your body has become accustomed to the dehydration caffeine causes. By drinking plenty of water and other fluids, you’ll replenish and balance your system, while helping to alleviate some of the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Drink black or green tea – Both black and green tea have less caffeine than coffee and act as a good in between if you’re trying to break the habit.
Take Excedrin – Besides containing the painkillers acetaminophen and aspirin, the small dose of caffeine in Excedrin will help you battle the headaches that many people experience in withdrawal.