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October 22, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Mental Health

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Addicted to caffeine

Question:

I am addicted to caffeine. I drink 3 or more cans of soda a day and if I don't I feel horrible head pain.

What can I do to not be addicted to caffeine?

Cola (17 year-old woman) from San Pedro, CA

Answer:

Dear Cola,

I think that the question you are really asking is how can you quit caffeine without feeling any discomfort. Unfortunately, whenever someone allows themselves to get addicted to a chemical there is always some measure of pain involved when they stop. Our bodies get used to the drug and believe that they actually run better with the substance than without it. In the long run this is a fallacy and they will feel better and be more effective after the chemical is gone. However, in the short run they will feel worse and perform worse because of the negative effects of the withdrawal of the drug.

The good news is that although caffeine is indeed an addictive drug of the stimulant class, it is a relatively moderate addictive chemical in terms of the withdrawal symptoms. For about three to seven days a person will feel anxious, tired, spacey, irritable, moody, and suffer from headaches. Afterwards, a person will feel back to normal and much calmer than before. There are rarely any cravings for the chemical after the initial withdrawals are completed. This is very different than other addictive drugs such as nicotine. With drugs such as nicotine cravings can persist intermittently for years after quitting.

Caffeine is a moderately strong stimulant which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, and some medications. It raises the central nervous system which increases insulin and adrenalin in the body. It decreases appetite and increases alertness. In large amounts it causes anxiety. The withdrawal symptoms are similar to other stimulants.

Although, some discomfort needs to be expected when withdrawing from any drug, there are a number of things that can be done to ease the pain. Deep breathing and several yoga techniques will calm the central nervous system. Learn relaxation or meditation techniques. Acupuncture can also be extremely helpful in easing the symptoms. Drink plenty of water and eat a relatively high protein diet. Take a full range of vitamins and exercise if possible. All of these procedures will aid in your discomfort.

You might consider seeking the help of a TFT therapist. TFT is a form of therapy that is based on acupuncture and acupressure. There are several procedures that consist of tapping on a number of acupressure points. Some procedures are geared towards relieving phobias. Others focus on anxiety and depression. One technique is especially aimed at easing addictions. This should make it easier to get through the few days of withdrawals.

Good luck.

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

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