Over 80% of people in the United States consume around 200 mg of caffeine each day, which is no surprise when we look at how easy it is to come by. Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, energy drinks, cola and even chocolate to name just a few.
Caffeine changes the way the body works, and while it may prove to be an effective stimulant, the effects can be unpleasant or even dangerous when too much has been consumed.
There are a number of signs and side effects that may indicate you’re consuming more caffeine than is recommended.
High Heartbeat Rate
Due to the stimulating properties of caffeine on your central nervous system, it is normal for your heart rate to increase within 15 minutes of consuming it. If you’re experiencing a higher heartrate more often than not, this could be a sign you’re consuming more caffeine than your system is willing to handle.
When you consume caffeine, your esophagus becomes relaxed, which contributes to gastroesophageal reflux. This can cause heartburn to those who are susceptible, which can be an uncomfortable experience.
While it’s normal to feel a little restless after a cup of coffee or energy drink, feeling constantly jittery is a clear sign you need to cut back. Caffeine stimulates the hormones within your body, such as adrenaline, which causes jitters and tremors.
The aforementioned afflictions, such as an increase in heart rate, heightened adrenaline and stimulated senses can be overwhelming to the body, resulting in feelings of anxiety. If you’re feeling ‘on edge’ and can’t think why, it’s very possible you’ve had one too many cups of coffee.
A prolonged use of caffeine in abundance can lead to regular muscle twitches or spasms, as the stimulative effects can cause involuntary, erratic movements. This can be alarming when unexpected and is a clear cut sign an individual needs to cut back before doing further damage to their system.
Disorderly Thoughts and Speech
Caffeine speeds up your senses and abilities, which in this case include thought and speech. This is often considered useful in the correct circumstances, for example when battling through a last minute project, however it can result in confusion or stuttering when taken too far.
Accourding to AHA Your central nervous system is heavily affective by the properties of caffeine. In addition to your heart rate increasing, you’re likely to experience flutters or palpitations which can cause you to feel anxious or unsteady.
Caffeine increases your need to urinate drastically, dye to the increase in blood flow through the kidneys. Your body’s blood vessels are dilated, causing the kidneys to produce more waste. If you find yourself needing to use the bathroom more than usual, caffeine could very possibly be the culprit.
Similarly, caffeine can also serve as a laxative, due to the increased concentration it causes in the small and large intestinal muscles. As a result of this concentration, pre-digested food moves into the intestine, which can trigger painful stomach cramps.
Frequent urination or diarrhoea is likely to result in dehydration, due to the imbalance of your bodily fluid. As your body is expelling more water than usual, it will also be expelling the vitamins and minerals it requires to function at its full potential. If you’re feeling thirsty, tired or drained, try examining your coffee habits as you may find they’re the cause of your dehydration.
According to Psychologium Insomnia is a common side effect of high caffeine intake, due to its effect on the neurotransmitter Adenosine, which is a natural tranquillizer of the brain. Without its activity, we are prevented from falling asleep easily.
While one or two cups of coffee won’t cause effects of this scale, too much can result in hallucinations. These occur when the body becomes stressed due to caffeine overdose combined with high adrenaline levels. Anyone experiencing hallucinations as a result of caffeine should cut back, or even quit as soon as they’re able.
After the initial buzz dies down, your body may begin to crave it, resulting in a dependence on caffeine. This later transforms into a chemical that requires caffeine in order to prevent symptoms of withdrawal, such as headaches, weariness or depression.
As listed above, gastric emptying is accelerated after the consumption of caffeine, meaning highly acidic contents of the stomach may pass into the small intestine as a faster rate, causing pain, injury or even stomach ulcers.
Cardiac arrest may occur due to the increased blood pressure associated with caffeine. It’s important for those with weak hearts to be wary of this risk while consuming caffeine, or even avoid stimulants altogether.
After consuming too much caffeine, caffeine intoxication can occur. This causes the individual to become confused and disoriented, resulting in a caffeine coma or seizures.
If you’re experiencing any of the effects listed above, it may be time to cut back your caffeine intake. There a number of ways to reduce your intake and learn not to rely on caffeine to stay awake.
How to Cut Back
If you’re heavily reliant on caffeine, you may find you need to detox the caffeine from your system before you can successfully quit altogether. The most effective, although also the most difficult way to quit caffeine is to simply quit cold turkey.
The downside is the potential withdrawal effects that may occur which in severe cases, could render you unable to function like your usual self for between 1 and 3 days. You’ll likely experience a lack of productivity and may feel as if you want to give up on aspects of your day that seem difficult or tedious.
If you’re not brave enough to quit all caffeine at once, simply try weaning yourself off it by gradually reducing the amount you consume per day.
While you may still experience withdrawal, the effects will be less severe, allowing you to stay relatively productive.
You’ll need to be vigilant in tracking the amount you consume and ensuring you really do cut back, or you won’t notice any difference at all. This method may also take longer to reach the point of detox, depending on the amount of caffeine you consumed daily at your starting point.