The hidden dangers of caffeine:
How coffee causes exhaustion, fatigue and addiction
Most a.m. coffee drinkers don't realize it, but their morning cups of coffee set their bodies up for a rollercoaster day of highs and lows, only to bottom out at the point of exhaustion. Just a few hours after consumption, when the artificial high dies down, many people may reach for more coffee or something sugary to get another lift, leading to daily fluctuations in energy and alertness, and possibly to eventual chronic adrenal Now, you don't have to explain your coffee addiction to me. I worked as an espresso barista for four years, so I know what it's like to drink coffee and espresso constantly. Throughout college, I drank about four espresso drinks a day, most of them doubles, and that's a conservative estimate. I only slept two or three hours most nights, but once a week or so, I would completely crash and sleep for twelve or thirteen hours straight. Since I graduated from college, I've also graduated to only drinking one cup of coffee a day and sometimes none at all. I feel much better and now I even have a somewhat normal sleeping schedule.
You probably don't drink as much coffee as I drank, but just one caffeinated drink – whether it's a soft drink, caffeinated tea or coffee – will put your body on the caffeine rollercoaster. When you consume caffeine, the drug begins its effects by initiating uncontrolled neuron firing in your brain, according to Stephen Cherniske in his book, Caffeine Blues. This excess neuron activity triggers your pituitary gland to secrete a hormone that tells your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin.
Adrenalin is what gives athletes that winning burst of energy and Good Samaritans the ability to rescue people by lifting cars. Adrenalin is also the source of our "fight-or-flight" response, which enabled our prehistoric ancestors to escape from saber-toothed tigers and other predators. By stimulating your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin, caffeine puts your body in this "fight-or-flight" state, which is useless while you're just sitting at your desk. When this adrenal high wears off later, you feel the drop in terms of fatigue, irritability, headache or confusion.
At this point, you may reach for another "hit" of caffeine, followed by another, and another and maybe even one more. If you constantly keep your body on a caffeine high, you're constantly keeping your body in "flight-or-flight" mode.
Cherniske explains your body's "perspective" of this constant state: "Imagine you lived in a country that was always under threat of attack. No matter where you went, there was a perpetual state of alert. Not only that, but your defenses were constantly being depleted and weakened. Does that sound stressful? Caffeine produces the same effect on your body, like fighting a war on multiple fronts at the same time." Cherniske calls your body's constant state of alert "caffeinism," which is characterized by fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbance, irritability and depression.
After prolonged "caffeinism," your body enters a state of adrenal exhaustion. Your caffeine consumption has simply pushed your adrenal glands so much that they've burned out. Ralph T. Golan, ND, describes this unfortunate state in his book, Herbal Defense: "Caffeine forces your glands to secrete when they don't have much left to give, and they have to keep digging deeper and deeper, making you more and more tired over time. And over the years, it takes more and more coffee to get the same result. Some people reach the point of drinking half a dozen or more cups of coffee to get the same result and it's barely keeping them awake. That's severe adrenal depletion." In other words, caffeine affects your body just like any drug. You start taking it slowly, but as your body develops a tolerance to it, you need more and more to feel the same effects. Eventually, your body reaches a point where it can't be without it; otherwise, you will start to experience withdrawal symptoms.
You may think that you don't drink nearly enough to become addicted to it, but you probably already are. "Careful research conducted by the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that low to moderate caffeine intake (as little as one 14-ounce mug per day) can quickly produce withdrawal symptoms," writes Cherniske. Yes, caffeine is a drug, even though it's something that you ingested in your beloved chocolate bars and colas since early childhood.
Instead of reaching for your morning cup of coffee, you can do your body a big favor by eating a healthy breakfast instead. A good breakfast, maintained by a healthy lunch, will keep you energetic all day. You can read News Target's page on breakfast to learn to distinguish between the good and bad breakfast foods, but whatever you do, don't wash it down with a cup of coffee.
The experts speak on caffeine, exhaustion and fatigue:
"Caffeine's immediate effects on your body"
It doesn't take a genius to see that there might be a downside to all of this neuron activity. In fact, uncontrolled neuron firing creates an emergency situation, which triggers the pituitary gland in the brain to secrete ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone). ACTH tells the adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones—the next major side effect of caffeine.
Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 56
Within five minutes after you drink your morning coffee, the caffeine begins to stimulate your central nervous system, triggering the release of stress hormones in your body, causing a stress ("fight or flight" ) response. The stress hormones are useful if you need to prepare yourself to fight or flee a dangerous situation, but if you are simply sitting at your desk you may feel a short charge of alertness, quickly followed by feelings of agitation. Within the next hour or so, after the stress response dissipates, you will probably feel more tired and hungry. At these low-energy times, many people reach for another cup of coffee, or eat a snack that is often high in sugar to "pep up" and stay alert. However, both caffeine and sugar only give you temporary feelings of increased energy, which quickly dissipate. For some people, this cycle of low energy followed by an infusion of caffeine or food continues the entire day -- leaving them feeling exhausted and unable to focus by 3:00 p.m. because they are drained from the ups and downs in energy their body endured throughout the day.
Active Wellness By Gayle Reichler MS RD CDN, page 12
Among other things, it stimulates the production of adrenaline, one of the hormones secreted by the adrenal glands to help us in extreme emergency situations. Our adrenals evolved to give our early ancestors the extra strength and alertness needed to escape a saber tooth tiger attack, but we don't often need that much adrenaline these days. Like sugar, coffee constantly stimulates the production of adrenaline, putting excessive wear and tear on the adrenal glands. And let's not forget that green tea and black tea contain caffeine, and even decaf still contains some caffeine. If you're sensitive to caffeine it can keep you awake at night even if you haven't had any since noon. If you're suffering from insomnia, your best bet is to drink nonstimulating herbal teas such as chamomile or mint in the evening. If you need a boost in the afternoon, try a cup of ginseng tea.
Prescription Alternatives by Earl Mindell RPh PhD and Virginia Hopkins MA, page
Caffeine triggers a stress response that involves a surge in adrenal hormones and the classic fight-or-flight "emergency," affecting virtually every cell in the body. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 98
Everybody "knows" that caffeine makes you more alert and clearheaded. Think again. A cup of coffee gives you a wakeup jolt because it triggers a stress response. Your adrenal glands are prompted to kick out the same stress hormones that are released when you perceive an external threat or danger. Your muscles tense, your blood sugar elevates for extra energy, your pulse and respiration rates speed up, and your state of alertness increases so you're ready to wrestle with or run from environmental dangers. You may be only sitting at your table or desk drinking a cup of coffee, but your body doesn't know that. It's preparing for action. The Memory Solution by Dr Julian Whitaker, page 261
Caffeine increases the stimulating neurohormone, noradrenaline, and reduces the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin. The Crazy Makers by Carol Simontacchi, page 191
Caffeine also stimulates the production of norepinephrine, another stress hormone that acts directly on the brain and nervous system. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are responsible for increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and that "emergency" feeling. In fact, the emergency is quite real. caffeine can trigger a classic fight-or-flight stress reaction with all of the results listed in Illustration.
Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 57
I particularly recommend that you avoid caffeine. What caffeine actually does is set off a stress response. It stimulates your adrenal glands to make epinephrine and norepinephrine—the same stress hormones that are produced in response to any stressor. This sets the stress response in motion, causing tense muscles, elevated blood sugar, and increased pulse and respiration. You may feel mentally sharper because your brain is high on adrenaline. It's ready to rumble. One cup of coffee for most people isn't damaging. But as you may recall from our discussion of the three stages of the stress response, if stress hormones remain elevated, the body is thrown into a state of chronic stress. By sipping on coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda all day long, you are forcing your adrenal glands to continue to pump out stress hormones.
The Memory Solution by Dr Julian Whitaker, page 165
Caffeine works by mimicking a hormone that tells the adrenal glands to crank out more adrenaline. The adrenal glands think there is a stressful situation and that they are supposed to be making more adrenal hormone. Herbal Defense by Ralph T Golan ND, page 280
A dosage of 50 to 100 mg caffeine, the amount in one cup of coffee, will produce a temporary increase in mental clarity and energy levels while simultaneously reducing drowsiness. It also improves muscular-coordinated work activity, such as typing. Through its CNS stimulation, caffeine increases brain activity; however, it also stimulates the cardiovascular system, raising blood pressure and heart rate. It generally speeds up our body by increasing our basal metabolic rate (BMR), which burns more calories. Initially, caffeine may lower blood sugar; however, this can lead to increased hunger or cravings for sweets. After adrenal stimulation, blood sugar rises again. Caffeine also increases respiratory rates, and for people with tight airways, it can open breathing passages. Caffeine is also a diuretic and a mild laxative. The New Detox Diet by Elson M Haas MD, page 30
Caffeine and nicotine overstimulate the adrenal glands. When these substances, other stressors, and a generally poor diet are combined, the adrenals can enter into a state of emergency. They become depleted of important vitamins, such as B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Complete Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 233
Although we think of caffeine in coffee as the "wake-me-up" chemical, chronic use of it may cause fatigue, headache, moodiness, and depression in some people. Because caffeine boosts energy through increasing the production of ATP, the basic unit of energy production in your body, one school of thought suggests that chronically stimulating this system may deplete it, sort of like overworking the soil in farmland. Recommendation: If you are a caffeine junkie (more than 3 cups of coffee a day) and can't get through the day without your coffee fix, you may be promoting your fatigue with caffeine and need a rest period. Go slowly with your reduction to zero caffeine to avoid developing overwhelming sleepiness and a bad headache.
Doctors Complete Guide Vitamins Minerals by Mary D Eades MD, page 324
Caffeine can have a detrimental effect on blood sugar. When caffeine is ingested, the nervous system is stimulated. Adrenaline is released and, in turn, the liver begins to emit stored blood sugar. Insulin is then released, and blood sugar drops below normal—a common seizure trigger for people with epilepsy. Caffeine can also constrict blood vessels in the brain. It is important for people with epilepsy to know that caffeine can be an ingredient in medications, including some antihistamines and decongestants.
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 739
For an optimal response to our plan, we recommend eliminating or sharply reducing your caffeine intake. Caffeine raises levels of adrenaline, causes overexcitation, increases stress, and impairs the relaxation response. It's hard to be at peace when you're revved up on caffeine.
Ultraprevention by Mark Hyman MD and Mark Liponis MD, page 241
Watch out for coffee. The caffeine in coffee can upset blood-sugar levels, leaving you fatigued and longing for a quick-pick-me-up snack. Limit coffee to two cups a day. Food & Mood By Elizabeth Somer MA RD, page 57
Caffeine, in fact, is the most widely used cognitive-enhancement product in our society. Numerous tests have proved that, when used in moderate amounts, caffeine boosts concentration and alertness. Because it is a stimulant, it increases output of adrenaline, and can temporarily improve memory and mood. Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. with Cameron Stauth, page 266
Caffeine acts directly upon the central nervous system. It brings about an almost immediate sense of clearer thought and lessens fatigue. It also stimulates the release of stored sugar from the liver, which accounts for the "lift" coffee, cola, and chocolate give. But these benefits may be far outweighed by the side effects: Vitamin Bible for the 21st Century by Earl Mindell, page 315
Caffeine doesn't add energy to your system, it just burns up your reserves at a faster pace. You get a short-term boost at the expense of long-term jitters and fatigue. The Unofficial Guide to Beating Stress by Pat Goudey, page 136
On the physical level, we need a steady source of energy to accomplish our goals. Nothing is more frustrating than to be motivated, to have a great plan, but no energy to carry it out. When I ask patients about their reasons for drinking coffee, the most common response is: "I need the energy." The irony is that caffeine is a major cause of fatigue. Depending on caffeine to get you through the day might work for a while, but in the long run it will make your dreams harder and harder to achieve. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 43
Avoid caffeine -- it increases the stress hormones and adrenaline, which causes a spike in blood sugar. Ultraprevention by Mark Hyman MD and Mark Liponis MD, page 306
"Constant 'fight-or-flight' mode and the caffeine rollercoaster"
If you continue to drink coffee or other beverages containing caffeine throughout the day, your adrenal glands will be constantly stimulated and you will find yourself in a chronic state of stress. Extra stress, I guarantee, you don't need—it takes a toll on your body and brain. And even though most people think caffeine makes them mentally sharper, studies demonstrate that, in fact, the opposite is true.
The Memory Solution by Dr Julian Whitaker, page 261
Cut back on sugar and caffeine. These quick-fix solutions to lagging energy and poor mood fuel your fatigue and depression and aggravate food cravings. You can achieve the same neurotransmitter "fix," but provide your body with a sustained energy boost and mood elevation, by switching to fiber-rich carbohydrates, such as breads, rice, pasta, low-sugar cereals, and starchy vegetables. Coffee is a mixed bag. One to two cups a day boosts energy and mood, but more than that -- especially in people who are unknowingly sensitive to caffeine—can fuel the fatigue spiral. Never consume sugar and caffeine together, and include the occasional sweet treat with a meal -- don't eat sweets alone. Food & Mood By Elizabeth Somer MA RD, page 274
Using sugar as a quick fix for dwindling energy results in a temporary high. In the long run, it could create a vicious cycle. "The person suffering from chronic tiredness and depression who turns to sugary foods may relieve the fatigue and feel better for a short while, but the depression and fatigue return," says Dr. Chris-tensen. The person then must either reach for another sugar fix or seek help elsewhere. As opposed to the temporary sugar high, eliminating sugar and caffeine from the diet is a permanent solution. "Ninety percent of our patients went cold turkey [eliminated all sugar and caffeine from the diet}. They felt worse at first, but an overwhelming number of them felt better and had more energy within a week," says Dr. Christensen.
Food & Mood By Elizabeth Somer MA RD, page 110
It is also interesting to note that several studies have found caffeine intake to be extremely high in individuals with psychiatric disorders. Another interesting finding is that the degree of fatigue experienced is often related to the quantity of caffeine ingested. In one survey of hospitalized psychiatric patients, 61% of those ingesting at least 750 mg/day (at least five cups of coffee) complained of fatigue, compared with 54% of those ingesting 250-749 mg/day, and only 24% of those ingesting less than 250 mg/day.
Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T
Murray, page 433
"Caffeinism and chronic fatigue"
"Caffeinism" is a state of chronic toxicity resulting from excess caffeine consumption. Caffeinism usually combines physical addiction with a wide range of debilitating effects, most notably anxiety, irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 36
Although caffeine consumption provides temporary stimulation, regular caffeine intake may actually lead to chronic fatigue. While mice fed one dose of caffeine demonstrated significant increases in their swimming capacity, when the dose of caffeine was given for six weeks, a significant decrease in swimming capacity was observed. Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine by Michael T Murray MD Joseph L Pizzorno
ND, page 368

Caffeine does not provide energy—only chemical stimulation. The perceived "energy" comes from the body's struggle to adapt to increased blood levels of stress hormones. In most cases, this induced emergency state leads to well-defined side effects collectively known as caffeinism. Ironically, caffeinism is characterized by fatigue. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 10
While coffee, tea and other substances containing caffeine may be used as stimulants to overcome the toxic effects of sedative drug poisoning, they tend to charge the adrenals and thus deplete the body's reserves.
Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra CA ND, page 241
Let's face it, remaining healthy and strong throughout life is a battle. Caffeine is the Trojan horse. It looks like a gift but instead delivers adrenal stress, low blood sugar, mood and energy swings, fatigue, depression, malnutrition, and disturbed sleep. By now, you are starting to see the full scope of how caffeine affects the quality of life. Caffeinism is a gradual and at first imperceptible disorder. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 94
The truth about caffeine and energy is finally getting out. Physicians are starting to warn their patients about caffeine "rebound," and an article in U.S. News & World Report listed caffeine addiction as a major cause of fatigue, including a "crash" that occurs after caffeine "buzz" wears off. People who become aware of this powerful influence on energy and mood and take steps to improve their energy naturally can experience remarkable improvements in their quality of life. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 119
"Adrenal fatigue"
The caffeine connection has been hidden by the fact that treatment for adrenal dysfunction disorders tends to be shortsighted and one-dimensional. As I have explained before, understanding the health effects of caffeine requires a long view, perhaps encompassing most of one's lifetime. And from that long-term view, a two-phase phenomenon is revealed.
Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 205
Another concern is that caffeine addiction often occurs along with other substance abuses, nicotine and sugar most commonly. Caffeine, like sugar, over stimulates the adrenals and then weakens them with persistent or chronic use. First, sugar stimulates and weakens the adrenals, which creates fatigue. Then we use caffeine to keep us aware and awake, further depleting our adrenals, to which many respond by drinking more caffeine with sugar. In addition, people who overuse caffeine tend to need more tranquilizers and sleeping pills to help them relax or sleep. Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD, page 937
Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Caffeine puts additional stress on your adrenal glands. Enhancing Heart Health by Matthew budoff MD FACC, page 61
But caffeine overstimulates the nerves and glands. It drains the adrenal system, damages the thyroid, and can trigger heart arrhythmias. In female and male menopause, caffeine plays a role: Breast cysts and lumps are common in women, while men suffer from caffeine-induced prostate problems.
Food Swings by Barnet Meltzer MD, page 56
In Phase 1 of the caffeine/adrenal relationship, stress hormones are pumped out in excessive amounts. This action suppresses immunity and increases risk for a number of health disorders, especially cardiovascular disease. It also lowers production of DHEA, a hormone critical to the optimum functioning of your immune, cardiovascular, reproductive, and nervous systems. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 208
The active ingredient in kola nut is caffeine. It is used both for its stimulating action as well as its flavor and color in various soft drinks. Its use for depression and fatigue, therefore, is purely symptomatic. A continual reliance on such symptomatic treatments as this and others such as coffee or tea (Camellia sinensis) for tiredness and fatigue is bound to deplete further the body's reserves, setting one up for more chronic degenerative conditions. Fatigue and tiredness usually have a cause that should be discovered and treated at a deeper level with diet, herbs and appropriate physiotherapy and lifestyle adjustments. The Way Of Herbs by Michael Tierra, page 150
Although acute caffeine consumption provides stimulation, regular caffeine intake may actually lead to chronic fatigue. While mice fed one dose of caffeine demonstrated significant increases in their swimming capacity, when the dose of caffeine was given for 6 weeks, a significant decrease in swimming capacity was observed. Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T
Murray, page 433

Caffeine depletes the body of B vitamins, which you need for proper brain and nervous system functioning and for converting food to energy, says Michael Murray, N.D., a naturopathic physician in Seattle and author of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Getting Well Naturally. To make matters worse, it also prevents iron absorption, says Dr. Murray, which can lead to anemia, a condition in which you have too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells and which is a major contributor to fatigue.
The Complete Book Of Alternative Nutrition by Selene Y Craig, page 389
"After prolonged 'caffeinism,' your body enters a state of
adrenal exhaustion"

Habitual caffeine use ultimately leads to Phase 2, what has been called adrenal insufficiency or adrenal exhaustion. This condition bears more than a casual resemblance to the post-traumatic stress syndrome experienced by soldiers returning from combat. In effect, the adrenal glands simply wear out from chronic stimulation.
Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 206
But with caffeine, we don't provide the glands anything to make that hormone out of—we just cry "emergency" and force them to figure it out, one way or another. So the body reaches down into its reserves and makes more hormone because it thinks it is the right thing to do. Caffeine forces your glands to secrete when they don't have much left to give, and they have to keep digging deeper and deeper, making you more and more tired over time. And over the years, it takes more and more coffee to get the same result. Some people reach the point of drinking half a dozen or more cups a day and it's barely keeping them awake. That's severe adrenal depletion.
Herbal Defense by Ralph T Golan ND, page 280
Another concern is that caffeine is often consumed along with other substances such as nicotine and sugar. Like sugar, caffeine overstimulates the adrenals and then weakens them with persistent or chronic use. A cycle develops where first sugar stimulates and weakens the adrenals, creating fatigue to which we then respond by drinking caffeine to stay awake. In addition, people who overuse caffeine tend to need more tranquilizers and sleeping pills to help them relax or sleep. Caffeine is a lifetime drug for many. We begin at a young age with hot chocolate or chocolate bars, move into colas or other soft drinks, and then add coffee and tea.
The New Detox Diet by Elson M Haas MD, page 30
Dr. Hibbs describes a male patient suffering from many effects of stress, including fatigue and constipation. The patient relied heavily on coffee to keep him going physically and had developed chronic adrenal fatigue. Dr. Hibbs took him off caffeine and sugar, which are both stimulants and were taxing his system. Appropriate exercise and dietary changes were made and he was put on adrenal supportive supplements containing glandular tissue, herbs, and nutrients. His bowel habits normalized quickly and remained that way when he stopped the adrenal supplements several months later. Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 688
The adrenal exhaustion/stress/fatigue/hypoglycemia syndrome is tied to caffeine use as well. Caffeine has an overall effect of increasing blood sugar (especially when it is sweetened), as it stimulates the adrenals. Both stress and sugar use tend to pressure and weaken the adrenal function. Recovery from the resulting fatigue requires rest, stress reduction, and sugar avoidance, but caffeine can override this fatigue and restimulate the adrenals. This process can eventually lead to chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, and subsequent inability to handle stress and sugar intake. Caffeine will then be of little help. Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD, page 942
Research is revealing that cortisol and DHEA, both produced in the adrenal cortex, hold an inverse relationship. As serum cortisol increases, DHEA levels fall. It may be that stress and caffeine create such a high need for cortisol that the exhausted adrenals simply cannot maintain production of DHEA at optimal levels. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 68
Caffeine is undeniably an effective central nervous system stimulant. It stimulates the brain, increases the secretion of adrenaline (epinephrine), and boosts heart rate. Although relatively safe, long-term use in excess of 250 to 300 mg daily may cause numerous health problems. Caffeine has been known to raise blood-cholesterol levels, deplete B vitamins, irritate the stomach and bladder, exhaust the adrenals, and possibly lead to breast and prostate problems. Off The Shelf Natural Health How To Use Herbs And Nutrients To Stay Well By
Mark Mayell, page 112
Far too many people overconsume caffeine, however. This occurs, I think, because people simply do not have enough natural energy. Instead of getting enough sleep, nutrients, and exercise to provide the energy they need, people depend upon caffeine to push them through the day. The short-term price for this dependency is nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and a "rebound effect" of lethargy and mental lassitude. The long-term price is burnout of the adrenal glands, and a body that has been exhausted by artificial stimulation. Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. with Cameron Stauth, page 266
Fatigue, childbirth, or injury to the kidney-adrenal area, also steroid drugs or excess use of stimulants, including caffeine, to the point of adrenal exhaustion, can all harm sexual strength for men and women alike. Muscles can become weak. Blood circulation and nerve sensitivity can become impaired. These are important factors in sexual strength. Some sexologists think of the vagina as a muscle.
Asian Health Secrets by Letha Hadady DAc, page 423
According to Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., dizziness when standing after sitting or lying down can be an indication of adrenal exhaustion. The individual should take action to restore adrenal health by stopping the use of stimulants (caffeine, tobacco, alcohol) and via rest and normalization of lifestyle and nutritional balance.
Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 1014
"In other words, caffeine affects your body just like any drug:
Addiction and withdrawal"

Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Studies show that abstinence induces a withdrawal syndrome of fatigue, headache and drowsiness within 24 hours and lasts about a week, on giving up the habit. Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Thomas Bartram, page 83
The second way that caffeine contributes to depression is, of course, the withdrawal reaction, the most prevalent symptoms being headache, depression, and fatigue. Three facts are important to grasp in regard to withdrawal. First of all, each of the symptoms compounds or magnifies the depressive effect. Secondly, withdrawal can occur even in light caffeine users. And third, withdrawal reactions can be evident even when caffeine is withheld for just a few hours. Some people feel depressed or anxious if they're simply late for their morning or afternoon cup. That's not only a powerful motivation to consume the beverage, but it also creates an often-unidentified source of background stress. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 112
Almost all of the research that has been done on caffeine agrees that it is definitely physically addictive. It is a mood-altering central nervous system stimulant. Though milder in its effects, caffeine manipulates the same neurochemical channels that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin do. Overuse of caffeine can result in a variety of symptoms, including irregular heartbeat, sleeplessness, headaches, nervousness, tremors, irritability, and depression. Withdrawing from heavy caffeine use can cause symptoms, too, principally a nagging headache that is unaffected by aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers, as well as fatigue, muscle pain, lethargy, and feelings of depression. To break a caffeine addiction, therefore, it is best to cut down gradually to avoid an uncomfortable withdrawal period. Prescription For Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A Balch, page 230
It's this "more" that is a double-edged sword. The initial high from caffeine is followed by mild withdrawal symptoms, one of which is fatigue. A vicious cycle can result as you drink more coffee to prevent the inevitable letdown. The fatigue, an irritable or depressed mood, and reduced work performance associated with caffeine withdrawal can begin within hours of the last cup and can last up to a week or more. People's tolerance to caffeine varies widely. Withdrawal symptoms are reported in some people even with small amounts of daily caffeine, such as one to two cups, while other people can tolerate higher doses with no problems. Food & Mood By Elizabeth Somer MA RD, page 105
Caffeine, which has come to be many Americans' "drug of choice," is highly addictive. A number of people suffer severe withdrawal symptoms—headache, fatigue, depression, muscle pains—when they abruptly stop their coffee or indeed their caffeinated tea intake. Caffeine also gives some people headaches and makes others quite anxious. Coffee in particular irritates the stomach and may stimulate the development of cysts in women's breasts. Manifesto For A New Medicine By James S Gordon MD, page 155
Caffeine is clearly addictive, completely unregulated, and its presence in our foods and beverages is often hidden! Almost daily I see a patient whose symptoms are made worse by the consumption of caffeine. The drug contributes to palpitations, panic attacks, hypoglycemia, gastritis, fatigue, insomnia, and PMS, to name a few. Some people are so sensitive to caffeine that they don't realize a fruit drink with hidden caffeine can cause their symptoms. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 10
Many people are addicted to caffeine. While studies attempting to prove that caffeine is implicated in everything from heart disease to high blood pressure have never been conclusive, I believe that the damage excessive caffeine consumption does can't be ignored. Caffeine wreaks havoc on your metabolism and creates a real stress that could precipitate symptoms including headaches, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, depression, and nervousness. Natural Prescriptions by Dr Robert M Giller, page 10
Telling whether you are addicted to caffeine is simple, says Dr. Griffiths. Just give up your caffeine sources—coffee, tea, soft drinks —for a couple of days and see if you feel tired, headachy, unmotivated, grumpy and depressed. Headaches and fatigue are the classic signs of caffeine deprivation. Food Your Miracle Medicine by Jean Carper, page 277
A significant cause of general fatigue is caffeine withdrawal. Since millions of Americans have caffeine addictions, caffeine-related fatigue is a common problem. When a person accustomed to large quantities of caffeine suddenly limits his or her intake, the result will be fatigue, probably accompanied by a headache. Eliminating dependence upon coffee and other caffeinated products is crucial to maintaining health and avoiding debilitating bouts with fatigue. Complete Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 104
Anyone with regular caffeine intake should truly consider withdrawing from their habit until they can reach a state of occasional use and enjoyment. For caffeine detoxification, it is important to support ourselves nutritionally while we eliminate or reduce our intake. If we are clearly addicted to caffeine products or if we become pregnant, we should quit totally. Breaking the habit by tapering down or going "cold turkey" will be better handled with a good diet and adrenal support. Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD, page 942
If your body doesn't get its caffeine quota, it can go through a week or two of withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, intense cravings for caffeine, constipation, anxiety, and a dim bulb where you used to have bright ideas.
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 137
It is important for people with hypoglycemic-induced fatigue to alter their diets, incorporating high-fiber, protein-containing complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, into their meals, and consuming nutritious snacks during the mid-morning and afternoon. Complex carbohydrates and high-protein (from fish and vegetable sources) diets can also be useful in combating fatigue resulting from caffeine withdrawal. Complete Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 106
"Although the phenomenon of caffeine withdrawal has been described previously, the present report documents that the incidence of caffeine withdrawal is higher (100 percent of subjects), the daily dose level at which withdrawal occurs is lower (roughly equivalent to the amount of caffeine in a single cup of strong brewed coffee or three cans of caffeinated soft drink), and the range of symptoms experienced is broader (including headache, fatigue and other dysphoric mood changes, muscle pain/stiffness, flu-like feelings, nausea/vomiting and craving for caffeine) than heretofore recognized."
Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 189
Cut off from caffeine or limited to considerably less than they're accustomed to, caffeine junkies complain of headaches, depression, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Women, page 99
Some people run their bodies on caffeine and not on their basic life force and the natural energy of their hormones, such as adrenal and thyroid. Caffeine, although it is not seriously addicting, is very habit forming. It is not particularly good for athletes or anyone seriously interested in their health. Although it may improve muscular work and short-term performance in both physical and mental athletes, it creates depletion by its diuretic nutrients, and foods can help balance this.
Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD, page 939
Do not consume any caffeine, alcohol, or sugar. Eating sugar in any form—including fructose and honey—promotes fatigue, increases pain, and disturbs sleep. If these substances have been a regular part of your diet, your symptoms may actually get worse for a short period as a result of the "withdrawal" effect, but after that, you should experience a noticeable improvement in your condition. Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A Balch CNC and James F Balch
MD, page 377

Fatigue is a common symptom when you're quitting caffeine. One way to beat it is to "thoroughly rub your ears and earlobes for a couple of minutes when you wake up in the morning," says Dierauf. Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb, page 138
Headache isn't the only side effect you may experience from quitting caffeine. It's just the most obvious. Your body, which has become accustomed to drug-induced stimulation, needs to recover its natural abundant energy supply. After all, most people consume caffeine to boost their energy levels, so restoring natural energy production once you're off the bean is critical. If you find yourself unable to muster the oomph to face the day, or crippled by "brain fog" that won't clear, you'll get discouraged quickly. Any program for quitting caffeine must provide a variety of successful methods to deal with fatigue so you don't go running back to caffeine. Caffeine Blues By Stephen Cherniske MS, page 336
Be aware that abrupt cessation of coffee drinking will probably result in symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, including fatigue, headache, and an intense desire for coffee. Fortunately, this withdrawal period doesn't last more than a few days.
Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine by Michael T Murray MD Joseph L Pizzorno
ND, page 368



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