Caffeine Addiction Treatment
Your Individual Treatment Needs
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, any form of addiction functions as a chronic, relapsing disease-type condition of the brain. In effect, addiction changes the brain’s overall structure and how it works. This means, anyone wanting to reduce or stop caffeine use may be in for more than they expect.
Once a chronic user puts a stop to caffeine use (also known as detoxing), the worst of withdrawal effects soon take shape. For someone who consumes moderate amounts of caffeine on a daily basis, withdrawal symptoms will likely be less intense, but still uncomfortable.
The psychological pull of addiction can be just as overwhelming as the body’s physical dependency on the drug. Since it’s “just caffeine,” many people may be surprised at how big a role caffeine has played in their daily routines once they stop consuming it.
For these reasons, it’s important to have some sort of plan in place to manage discomfort along the way. Determining the severity of your addiction becomes the first step towards overcoming a caffeine addiction.
Reducing Withdrawal Effects
Reducing the intensity of physical withdrawal effects experienced becomes a necessary first step to getting through the initial detox period. This can be accomplished in different ways, such as –
- Gradually tapering daily intake amounts
- Taking over-the-counter remedies to relieve symptoms involving nausea and headaches
- Replacing caffeinated beverages with “partially” decaffeinated beverages
Tracking your consumption amounts on a daily basis can also help in pinpointing times when the urge for caffeine is greatest.
Behavioral-Based Treatment Needs
The physical withdrawal effects from caffeine can last for up to nine days. The psychological withdrawal effects can last for months or even years depending on the severity of your addiction. Maintaining long-term abstinence relies on your ability to manage the psychological withdrawal effects, which are the driving force behind any addiction.
In general, the addiction component carries far-reaching effects that impact a person’s:
- Thinking patterns
- Emotional state
- Belief systems
While it may not seem like caffeine exerts this much of an influence, someone who drinks five to ten cups of coffee a day will most definitely experience a “loss” when trying to stop using. Much like any other form of addiction, a person comes to look forward to caffeine’s positive effects. This taps directly into the brain’s cognitive or thinking functions.
Caffeine’s positive effects also tie in with a person’s emotional state. After months or years of this, the brain forms its own belief system, assigning caffeine an important role in a person’s daily life. This inevitably affects a person’s behaviors in terms of how caffeine’s effects make his or daily routine bearable.
For chronic drinkers, all these factors may well warrant professional treatment help. Professional treatment may take the form of:
- Group counseling
- Support group meetings
Addiction severity, for the most part, determines how intensive your treatment should be.
Perhaps the best first step towards overcoming a caffeine addiction starts by consulting with your personal physician. This is especially the case for people who have existing medical or psychological problems.
In some cases, a physician may prescribe medications to help alleviate uncomfortable withdrawal effects, which helps in getting through the initial detox period. From there, he or she may be able to recommend a therapist or local support group in your area.