Caffeine is widely accepted as the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug. It is taking the world by storm and has taken over the lives of many people because of its benefits. Coffee breaks are known to be coffee breaks because it is reserved only for coffee. Students are now taking it to make sure they stay awake during the dead of the night. Fast food beverages usually have caffeine. Chocolates and chocolate-containing beverages and products are just a few sample of the food we crave every now and then.
Caffeine is a natural substance found in the leaves, seeds, and fruits of more than 60 different types of plants including coffee beans, cocoa beans, kola nuts, and tea leaves. They are usually derived into different types of beverages like coffee, chocolate drinks, cola, and tea. These beverages are consumed to perk up the brain and are classified as stimulants. The effects of caffeine can manifest as fast as 15 minutes after consumption and can remain inside the body for hours and hours. After approximately 6 hours after ingestion, half of the amount taken is eliminated in the bloodstream through urine.
The effects of caffeine differ from individual to individual. It also depends on the amount consumed throughout the entire 24 hours. Beneficial effects are enjoyed when caffeine is taken at a considerable amount. Such positive effects are alertness, sociability, and increased well-being. But, when taken in large amounts of more than 200 mg or more, the effects become deleterious to the body. Examples are nervousness, anxiety, and even seizures.
Because of its different side effects to the body, consumers should know how to moderate themselves in consuming the substance. There are a lot of conditions that pertain to caffeine and some of them involve around psychiatric conditions. Caffeine withdrawal, caffeine intoxication, caffeine addiction or dependence, caffeine-induced sleep disorders, and even caffeine-induced anxiety disorders are just a few of the conditions brought by caffeine overdose.
Caffeine intoxication is the result of too much consumption of caffeine. Insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, tachycardia, frequent urination, muscle cramps and twitching, tremors, seizures, gastrointestinal upset, and even psychomotor agitation are just a few symptoms when a person is intoxicated with caffeine. There are also reports of people having fever, irritability, headaches, and tachypnea for patients with caffeine intoxication. These symptoms manifest to patients who have consumed more than 500 mg of caffeine.
These manifestations would still differ from individuals. It differs from the person’s sensitivity to caffeine and tolerance to the psychoactive drug. For Example, a person who has low sensitivity and higher tolerance of caffeine than others might find it hard to perk up with just a single dose of caffeine. Therefore, a person would have to consume more caffeine for him to experience the effects.
Caffeine anxiety disorder and caffeine induced sleep disorders are just a few other conditions that manifest together with caffeine overdose. Recent studies have shown that there are instances of increased anxiety levels and episodes of panic attack after consumption of over 200 mg of caffeine. People who have past history of panic attacks and increased anxiety are more prone to the effects of caffeine.
It has long been known that caffeine is connected to sleeplessness. It can interrupt with sleep, reduce the total number of sleeping hours, alter the normal flow of sleep, and decrease the quality of sleep. Studies show that caffeine not only affects sleep when taken before sleeping hours. Caffeine consumed within the 24 hour period can still affect the normal pattern of sleep.
However, there is also caffeine tolerance. Generally, tolerance refers to the decrease in response of a certain individual to a certain drug after multiple exposures. Doses of more than 750 mg per day can make an individual caffeine tolerant – the effect is gone, but the negative health effects still there! Incomplete tolerance is achieved when there is a relatively lower dose and can only cause sleep disruption.
Caffeine may not be regulated by any board of food and drug safety. But, it is up to us to use it moderately to give us the benefits we need to help us through the day.