Caffeine Withdrawal and the Working World

By | Dec 30, 2008

Almost everyone is familiar with caffeine in one form or another, whether through the cup of coffee in the morning, lunch, afternoon and evening, or be it a can of coke, it is rare to fiond someone who hasn’t felt the charge of caffeine in the morning or during a late-night study period. Bonus points for the one-two punch of caffeine plus sugar one would find in a can of soda or a cup of coffee with two tablespoons of sugar.

Many coffee drinkers are also familiar with the painful caffeine-headaches that come when they skip their morning cup. Those withdrawal pains are enough to make us want to stay in bed for a week as we experience back pain, nausia and sometimes heart palpipations. Why would anyone want to go through with this? Think of it this way – if something has this much effect onus while it leaves our bodies, what in the heck is it doing while still there?

Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant discovered in 1819 by German chemist Friedrich Ferdinand Runge. In simplest terms, it works by crossing the blood-brain barrier and binding to the adenosine receptors – adenosine is a chemical that regulates sleep and arousal – causing the brain processes to increase and generally allowing the user to experience faster and clearer thought and more alertness.

Prolonged and excessive caffeine use has major drawbacks:


  • ATP – the transfer of energy within the body’s cells is affected
  • Less calcium intake by the body, affecting bone density and strength
  • Stomach problems due to the acidic properties of the coffee or soda being consumed
  • Dental problems resulting from wear on tooth enamel from being constantly bathed by sugar
  • Weight gain due to retention of water

In 2005 the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin was known to drink 10-15 cups of coffee daily. The man was jittery and rightly so – he had the most stressful job in the country – but that much coffee intake is just plain irresponsible.

Since the beginning of time, humans have used drugs like caffeine and opium in socially-acceptable recreational capacities. Cocaine was even used (in very small amounts) in the original Coca-Cola formula.

What can you expect after cutting out the caffeine?

  • Improved concentration
  • Improved spirits – things will seem less bad
  • Improved brain function – while on a caffeine sabbatical I was able to create and maintain multiple web sites
  • Greater energy levels
  • Weight loss due to the body expelling its water stores
  • Much improved sleep

What can you expect while de-caffeinating?

  • Pain – back pain, side pain, leg pain – unrelenting
  • Migrane headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Difficulty staying awake and concentrating during the day

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