Here’s the spoiler alert: you can’t be addicted to coffee or caffeine. You can, however, be dependent on caffeine. So what’s the difference?
Think of dependency as a lighter version of addiction. Dependence means you might experience physical withdrawals without the product, but it won’t completely alter your brain chemistry. That being said, some of us are terrible people before we’ve had our morning coffee.
Caffeine can be good for you. It’s a great “drug”. It’s cheap(ish), legal, and almost everyone uses it. You don’t need to stop drinking coffee, but maybe you want to feel like you shouldn’t need it?
Signs You are Dependent on Coffee
Irritability and trouble falling asleep can be indications you’re drinking too much caffeine. This is especially true if your tolerance is so high you tend to caffeinate throughout the day. If you feel sluggish and tired when you haven’t had that cup of coffee, you may want to decrease your consumption. Weaning yourself off of high amounts of caffeine can actually increase your energy levels in the long run.
How to Get Your Coffee Dependency Under Control
Like any bad habit, the easiest way to get your caffeine dependency under control is to slowly reduce your daily consumption. Very slowly. You’ll feel a lot of irritation if you quit cold turkey—and there’s no need to! Reduce your intake, and you’ll see the benefits in a week or so.
If you’re used to a certain amount of coffee a day, and you don’t feel comfortable changing that routine, try cutting the hard stuff with decaf. You won’t notice the lack of caffeine and you can still have your regular number of cups in a day.
Be mindful of other sources of caffeine. If you’re cutting back on coffee but find yourself grabbing a soda or energy drink after lunch, thatBe careful not to add other drinks or food that contain caffeine while you are cutting down on coffee. You can also replace your coffee with green or black tea.
Once you bring the caffeine level down in your system, your body acclimates to the lower levels. It takes a couple of weeks, but the next cup you allow yourself tastes good, and you likely won’t feel so tired in the morning or be craving a cup of coffee so quickly!