There's nothing like a hot, milky, frothy coffee in the morning. That rich, roasted aroma, the slightly sweet-yet-bitter taste, the instant buzz it provides...
But if you can't go a day without a cup of coffee, or the thought of coffee is what gets you up in the morning, there's a chance you may be addicted to caffeine.
Now, coffee isn't necessarily 'bad' for you (in fact, research shows quite the opposite in appropriate amounts), but too much of it isn't a good idea -- it can result in sleeping problems, heart palpitations and nervousness. Not to mention all the negative effects when you stop drinking coffee.
How do we know if we're dependent on coffee? Here are six tell-tale signs, from SELF.
1. You get a headache if you miss a cup
If you're a regular coffee drinker and have ever skipped your morning cup of coffee, you'll be familiar with that pounding in your head.
'Coffee headaches' are definitely a thing, and it's all because stopping daily caffeine consumption produces changes in cerebral blood flow. In other words, caffeine slows blood flow to your brain.
2. You're super grumpy before (or without) your fix
Hate absolutely everyone before your morning coffee? You're not alone. Caffeine stimulates the dopamine receptors (the 'pleasure centre') in your brain, as well as adrenaline, both which make us feel good.
Without coffee, our body relies on itself to regulate mood. Hence the feeling of grumpiness or lethargy.
3. You can't concentrate without caffeine
Foggy brain is another sign that you may be caffeine dependent, and this again relates to caffeine's ability to boost adrenaline, which helps keep us alert and focused. If we get used to that boost, when we go without coffee we can feel foggy and lack concentration.
4. You need more and more coffee for the same effect
If you started with one cup of coffee and now drink five cups a day, just to get the same effect, this is your body building up a tolerance to caffeine's effects.
This is where many people get stuck -- do we drink more to get the effects and go overboard, or cut back and feel the withdrawals?
5. You feel nervous or anxious
Everyone processes caffeine differently -- some can drink three cups with no problems, while others are more sensitive. If high doses of caffeine make you feel nervous, anxious, edgy, nauseated or jittery, it might be time to cut back.
Essentially, coffee creates stress in the body (via adrenaline), producing those 'coffee symptoms' we often feel.
6. You can't bear the thought of giving up coffee
If you can't imagine a world without coffee, chances are you're more dependent on coffee than you thought. In order to cut down, experts suggest doing so slowly, not cold turkey, so as not to 'shock' your body.
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