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Author Topic: Caffeine in Moderation
Ashy
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Stumbling down the stairs, eyes blurred with sleepiness, reaching for that one thing that could possibly make you feel better--coffee.

Sound like you?

It's a pretty common phenomenon, people who just can't get up without that "one cup of coffee", or two, or three. Caffeine, the ingredient that often causes that craving, is very commmon in the US and many other parts of the world, and due to its prevalence, many forget that it is a drug, and can be addictive. Caffeine is in soda pop, coffee, some types of tea, chocolate, and other foods. Caffeine is a stimulant, which is why caffeine is taken to prevent sleep (such as before exams ). This can produce negative effects, however, because after caffeine's stimulating effects wear off and you feel drowsy, you may want to continue taking more and more, disrupting sleep patterns.

I'm not implying that you should take caffeine; I do enjoy caffeinated soda and definitely chocolate! But please bear in mind that it may not be the smartest thing to think "I know how I'll study for exams this week! I'll just drink 9 cans of Jolt soda a day!"

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Ash
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"Calm. Yes. Calm. Calm. Calm! Calm!! CALM!!"
--Ash, while attempting to work instead of bouncing off the walls.


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Gumdrop Girl
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another good reason for moderation:

caffeine, like many other drugs, becomes tolerated by your body with time and consumption. this means the more you ingest it, the more it takes for your body to feel the effects. if you're a two cup (about 200mg) per morning person, then in a matter of months or even weeks, it's not going to give you the same buzz.

for maximum efficacy, take extra caffeine only when you have to. sure, have a cappucino a few afternoons a week -- you might even want to make it a decaf or half-decaf. but if you need to stay up and write that 12-page paper, you might want to lay off the java in your down time and only drink that extra Jolt, or double espresso when you're writing.

and there's the matter of caffeine addiction. Yes it happens. Happened to me in high school. It sounds silly, but to fit in with my clique of friends, I drank way too much caffeine. All we did was drink coffee and Mountain Dew and run around wired at the park. We even made coffee desserts. Well, eventually, I needed to have coffee to stave off the headaches. Caffeine addiction's not awful. It's just that you get some mad splitting headaches if you don't have some. But don't worry, it's not hard to get over. Just wean yourself off slowly. Takes two or three weeks (which isn't long at all). Drink lots of water and have some Tylenol handy to soothe your achy brain. Of course, don't overdo the Tylenol!

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srm? wtf? iyhta ... rtfm!


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Etch
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I am addicted to coffee.... I have a mint mocha almost every morning at school. I dont do it to get the buzz though, that went away a long time ago and i havent added another shot to my coffee yet. Nor do i plan to (thats 2 more bucks a week!) Sometimes i get killer headaches from lack of caffiene, but its nothing unusually bad.

The only reason I want to stop drinking is because gourmet coffee is sugar intense, and fattening.

Caffiene doesnt cause any long term problems (right?) Or short term ones except the buzz, and crash. So why stop?

Personally I am more worried about my addiction to ibuprofin for my tooth aches. *shrugs*


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Ashy
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Actually, caffeine has been proven to have long term negative effects in some studies:
http://www.healthy.net/asp/templates/article.asp?PageType=Article&ID=800
http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/dt/V144/N06/04-caffe.06c.html

Caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns in both long term and short term periods--after all, as you take more and more caffeine in order to get the same amount of stimulus, more and more caffeine is lett in your system, making it difficult to sleep.

Medical studies for caffeine seem to be all over the place, some of them saying that caffeine doesn't have long term effects in the future, others saying that it contributes to loss of bone density and other harmful effects.

A mint mocha every morning sounds okay to me, but I leave it to you to decide whether it's a healthy choice or not. When soda is around the house, I tend to drink it a lot (which is why I generally don't have soda in the house! Evil holidays...)

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Ash
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"Calm. Yes. Calm. Calm. Calm! Calm!! CALM!!"
--Ash, while attempting to work instead of bouncing off the walls.

[This message has been edited by Ashy (edited 12-28-2001).]


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Gumdrop Girl
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Caffeine consumption during pregnancy has been linked to smaller cranial volume in babies. So if you are pregnant, it's a good idea to stop consuming caffeine for your baby's health.

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srm? wtf? iyhta ... rtfm!


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Heather
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I'll step out and be honest, because I am the Caffeine Addiction poster child. I grew up having "children's coffee," a lot of milk, a little coffee, and by the time I was in junior high, had about a normal cup each morning.

And I never stopped. Now in my thirtoes, I am indeed addicted. I get migraines without it, I have about two strong cups a day (which doesn't seem like much, but mind you, a cup of coffee for me is a three-shot espresso or a strng french-pressed large cup) and I cannot wake up without it.

There really is no such thing for me at this point as upping my stimulus from coffee: I've drank it for so long that my level of tolerance is through the roof, and even pots of it would barely make a ripple. And I love the stuff. The smell alone sends me to heaven.

It's hardly my largest health concern, BUT it is no doubt an addiction, and an easy one to get at that, and chemical dependencies -- even when legal and fairly benign -- can be a real drag, especially if they do turn out to be something you need to drop for your health or someone else's (AKA, a wee one).

Just something to consider.


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Pumpkin_Pie
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So you know if I drank about 3 bottles of Coca Cola a day(not that I do or anything-cue shifty, sneaky looking eyes), if I craved it and I couldn't get through a day without at least one bottle, and have actually fallen asleep in class, would I be addicted?
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Gumdrop Girl
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that depends, slayer. do you really think you're dependent on the cola? its one thing to have a fondness for a soda (i'm an avid pepsi drinker, myself but i've no ill-feelings toward Coke products). and it's one thing to have a habit of drinking soda (like having one every day at 3pm with a piece of toast or something). but if you are truly addicted to caffeine, you'll know it. it's those dang headaches and the irratibility.

sound familiar? maybe? well, then you'll need to decide if you want to do something about it. like, does the addiction harm you? are you spending all your money at the vending machine? are your teeth rotted through? is the caffeine really adversely affecting the way you live? then kick the habit? but like Miz S said, it's fairly benign as far as addictions go. It might not be worth the hassle of kicking the habit if you're life is going to be the same afterwards, except that you're drinking Sprite now instead.

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Pumpkin_Pie
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I spend about 10 or 12 dollars a week on Coke. I do get headaches sometimes but I don't allow myslef to go without coke to actually experiment. I think I'll do that and get back to you.
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'rin
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if you're trying to kick a caffeine addiction and get headaches...don't reach for excedrine migrane. it works really well to cure those particular headaches b/c it contains caffeine. last time i tried to stop drinking coffee (10 cups a day or more, 50 dollars a week) i thought i was doing wonderfully...until i realized that i'd just replaced my coffee with excedrine. good luck!
'rin

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KittenGoddess
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I've gotta admit I'm a bit of a coffee addict...but I dunno about necessarily being a caffine addict. Now I generally have one cup of coffee in the morning, and I might have one cola during the day, but that's it for the most part. And as far as the coffee goes, I think I could drink decaf if it were really good quality coffee. Maybe.

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~KittenGoddess
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BJadeT
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Before I got ill with Chronic Fatigue, I was definitely developing a coffee addiction. I had very, very early starts, and they served cheap coffee at college, so I was just getting completely tanked up on it before I could bare to go into class.

But since I've been ill, it's become a lot more noticeable how bad it is for me. It sends me very hyper at first, but the 'downer' afterwards is awful. Maybe because I end up doing too much whilst I'm on a caffiene high, and my body can't really cope with it, or maybe just because the coffee itself is bad for me at the moment. So I only have coffee once in a while, when I really need to do something and don't have to care about the after effects. It's still not the best thing to do, rely on caffiene, but if it means I can get to college by eight am on a Friday, then I feel I have to do it.

So, that's my relationship with coffee. However, I really do love the taste and the smell and the whole coffee experience, and decaf is a poor substitute, so it's quite hard to resist when everyone around is drinking it.


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Gumdrop Girl
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Excedrine contains caffeine because it is actually a good treatment for headaches caused by vasodilation in the brain. Caffeine (like all other stimulants) have the property of causing blood vessels to constrict. Migraines are the main type of headache caused by dilating vessels, though oddly enough, in some migraine sufferers, it is better to stay off caffeine than to use it to relieve the headache.

and since most headaches are tension headaches anyway, it's a good idea not to treat your headache with caffeine unless you know for sure whch kind of ache it is, lest you make yourself feel worse.

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srm? wtf? iyhta ... rtfm!


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'rin
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yeah actually my doctor told me to drink coffee with my perscription painkillers for my migranes (oddly enough i thought caffeine was a vaso-dilater and that migrains constricted bloodvessles, thanks for setting me straight.) i just wanted to let people who are actually trying to get rid of a caffeine addiction that excedrine is a hidden caffeine sourse. i know i was surpirsed to find that on the ingredient list.
'rin

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Tel'kella
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Tonight on CTV News, they announced that researchers at Guelph University in Canada have linked the consumption of caffeine with carbohydrates to the development of type 2 diabetes. Yet another reason to limit caffeine consumption!

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--Tek

[edited for accuracy]

[This message has been edited by Tel'kella (edited 01-19-2002).]


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