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Strategies For Quitting a Coffee Or Caffeine Addiction

Jul 30, 2008
When quitting caffeine, it is true that you are withdrawing form a drug, so there will typically be symptoms. But if you know what to expect and follow a few simple strategies, then your experience shouldn't be too bad. There are essentially two approaches to giving up caffeine: stopping cold turkey, or a gradual withdrawal.

It is extremely hard to stop cold turkey, as you suddenly no longer get your morning "fix", causing you to feel lightheaded and shaky. As the day progresses, people start to feel irritable, unable to work, nervous, restless, sleepy, and develop a huge headache. These headaches are caused by the reduction in caffeine, which makes the body oversensitive to adenosine, making blood pressure drop dramatically and excess blood to fill the head. This headache usually lasts from one to five days and can usually be alleviated with ibuprofen or aspirin. Nausea and vomiting have even been reported in some extreme cases. The second day of the cold turkey cure is a little bit easier, and you should feel like a new person within a week.

To ease the shock of eliminating coffee all at once, there are several tricks that are suggested, including starting the day with a cold shower, deep breathing, standing on your shoulders to bring blood to your head, and exercise to get your circulation pumping. A lot of people who are successful with the cold turkey approach do it while they are on vacation.

Gradual withdrawal is much easier for most people, with the first step being to determine how much caffeine you average each day. Keeping a journal or making notes in your planner for a week is a good idea, as you need to remember to count all coffees, teas, soft drinks, chocolate bars, and medicines that you know contain caffeine. Once you figure out how much caffeine you average, make a plan to reduce caffeine each day, which is known as caffeine fading. It is also important to set a target day for being caffeine free, a time period of a month is suggested. The easiest first step is to switch to a lower caffeine type of coffee, while others claim that the best way is cut down daily caffeine intake by half a cup.

If you choose to do this method, plan ahead and make sure to have substitutes available, with many colas having a caffeine-free version. You can also try using half-decaffeinated/half-caffeinated for a while and slowly decreasing to full decaf. If you like milk in your coffee, you can simply add more to reduce the amount of caffeine you are taking in. When dependant on caffeine, you may snack more during the day without even realizing it, as a way to keep blood sugar high. Therefore, you may even lose a few pounds once you give up caffeine. Although there may be no substitute in something that tastes quite like coffee, there are toasted grain beverages and a variety of herbal teas that are much healthier than caffeinated coffee.

Other suggestions for overcoming you addiction to caffeine are avoiding people, places, and things that you associate with coffee; cleansing your system with a detox diet; hypnosis, relaxation techniques, visualization, yoga, and tai chi; regular exercise, and adding a multiple vitamin to your diet for energy will help your fight against caffeine addiction.
About the Author
More information on coffee and caffeine addictions is available at VitaNet , LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
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