Caffeine and Headaches – Caffeine Addictions – Short Medical Article
Coffee drinkers – Caution!
Whats the most frustrating physical problem you face in this modern stressful life?? Yes headache!! Common but disgusting.
Got a headache! Whats your first thought? Hmmm, a cup of coffee!! Coffee is the first choice to get relief from headache for many. This is because it is an easy- to- get remedy which gives immediate beneficial effects.
The main component of coffee is caffeine which jolts the central nervous system and act as a stimulant causing increase in alertness and awareness. It is used in many of the headache relievers like Excedrin and Fioricet.
Caffeine and its sources:
Caffeine is bitter crystalline alkaloid which acts as psychoactive stimulant.
It is present in many beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks and also in small amounts in beans, leaves and fruits of some plants. Of these coffee occupies the first place.
Can Caffeine be a Cause of headaches:
The causes for headache can be stress, nutritional factors, and blood sugar levels commonly. Tension headache can be caused by muscle contraction in face, scalp, neck, shoulder and jaw when subjected to stress or even in cases of severe anxiety and depression. But migraine which is most common in women is caused by dilation of blood vessels.
Now an unexpected cause of headaches… caffeine!
Caffeine and headaches relation:
The most common occurrence of headache is due to blood vessels increasing in size and they gradually wreak havoc on the nerves surrounding them. So most of the headache relievers focus on bringing the blood vessels back to their normal size. Caffeine in small amounts can help to achieve this as it acts as vasoconstrictor.
But the darker side is caffeine when used in large amounts especially along with sugar can backfire and cause expansion of blood vessels and thereby resulting in headache.
Addictive nature of caffeine:
Can’t miss your morning cup of coffee? Or can’t start your work without enjoying your coffee daily? Then you are one of the millions suffering from caffeinism that is ‘addiction to caffeine’ or simply ‘caffeine dependency’.
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance all over the world. Unlike other abused drugs its consumption is legal and also unregulated in most of the countries. But caffeine can act as a slow poison.
Why addiction to caffeine?
Intakes of caffeine causes rush of adrenaline which results in boost of energy. But when we fail to take caffeine at the usual time, the adrenaline levels decrease and withdrawal symptoms start. This drags us to coffee shop again and the addiction starts.
When a regular coffee consumer goes without his/her fix, ‘caffeine withdrawal’ symptoms start to appear. These include drowsiness, coffee cravings, irritability, mood swings, headache and loss of appetite, upset stomach.
Overcoming caffeine withdrawal symptoms:
Best one is decreasing caffeine consumption gradually.
Taking additional vitamins like vitamin B 12, vitamin C and vitamin E, B-complex can help in detoxifying the body or mineral supplements
How much of caffeine is excess caffeine?
Generally 300mg of caffeine per day is agreed to be safe. This would be the amount in 2 cups of coffee. For pregnant woman this should more less.
Alternatives of coffee:
Green tea, licorice tea, black tea can be very helpful.