Are You A Caf-fiend Or Not?


Are You A Caffiend or Not?

A lot of people say they are addicted to coffee. Go to the craft website Etsy and look at how many coffee related mugs, shirts, trivets, samplers and keychain fobs you can buy.

It’s a well-worn cliché that some people can’t function without their morning coffee.

I was once accused by my dentist of being a “man who loves his coffee.” Turns out, it was really an ingredient in the mouthwash I was using that was staining my teeth. Different mouthwash, no stains—even though I do drink coffee. So, jokes on you Dr. Chang!

That’s an example of how coffee gets a bad rap.

The biggest factor behind the notion that so many are addicted to coffee is the idea of caffeine withdrawal. Some new research from The Journal of Psychopharmacology tried to get some insight into this phenomenon.

The researchers got a bunch of heavy caffeine users (three or more cups of coffee per day) to go through a five day tapered caffeine reduction protocol. The first day allowed 300mg. The next days allowed 200, 100, 0 and 0mg.

All the subjects received the same “detox.” But one group was told the truth about it, and the other group was told that they were getting 300mg for three days and then dropping right away to nothing.

Each day, the caffeine withdrawal symptoms were logged using a 23 item tool called the Caffeine Withdrawal Symptom Questionnaire. People in the know just call it the CWSQ.

And sure enough, as expected, the reported withdrawal symptoms were consistent with WHAT THE SUBJECTS WERE TOLD, not the actual dosing they received.

What does this mean? It means that although caffeine withdrawal is a real thing, the symptoms you experience can be significantly affected by what’s in your head, not you cup!


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