Now I need a coffee! Where does this thought come from? Do you want a coffee or does your body need it?
Image: Roger Karlsson, © free-photo-gallery.org
Welcome to the wacky world of slightly addictive drugs. Think this is too harsh? Coffee not addictive? How do you know? Find out for yourself: stop reading, quit for 4 days and see what happens.
Still with me? Good. You probably want to know what qualifies me to point and pontificate.
Popular programmer's drinkOK, let me spill the beans. Prompted by a painful shoulder affliction earlier this year, I had gone off coffee completely. And back on after I found it was rather not a causative factor. Surprisingly, sugar was. Not white sugar in brown coffee, as I prefer my caffeine hit straight black and unsweetened. This since the time I roasted my own and enjoyed euphorines said to be emanating from a brew just made from the fresh roast.
In the office my changing coffee habit got a few colleagues remark they never drink coffee. To me this was motivation to stay off for a while only to get back on after a too short night or while jetlagged. On and off multiple times brought clarity as to what really are "coffeeeffects" on my body.
Coming clean takes three days or so
Withdrawal feels surprisingly close to too short a night or being jetlagged. The body needs more sleep, yet gets not fully out of the fog until three nights after, even with my regular exercise and lots of water. On day three or four the morning was again bright and felt full of beans.
A single cup after a caffeine-free week
on a Friday afternoon led to a very pronounced fogginess the next morning, as if sleep deprived - and I was not. It took a 30 km vigorous bicyce ride to clear out the fog and lose the need for a coffee.
A single cup a day may be harmless
Depending on which study you you trust, coffee may be anything from beneficial in moderation to an addictive drug. I am not here to argue with scientific findings, especially as disclosing conflict of interest from accepting payment is not the broad norm it should be in biochemical and pharmaceutical research. What I can say is that even with the best of intentions a single cup a day leads me to 2, 3, 4 on the following days - right back into addiction. I admit being a social coffee drinker. Harmless as it may be it is annoying to be at the call of habit without having a workable antidote.
What do you do to undo caffeine addiction and avoid the fog?