I am Geo's soon to be conquered caffeine addiction.
To try and learn more about why my self enforced caffeine withdrawal is so much "fun" (if by fun you mean cranky exhaustion...sigh) i put on my investigating hat. Turns out caffeine is addictive because the molecule fits perfectly into our brain's adenosine receptors. Adenosine is responsible for signaling the brain that it is time to rest or sleep. Since these receptors are blocked with caffeine molecules, dopamine (the happy time brain chem) works more efficiently. Add to that the fact that excess adenosine signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and you feel more alert too. Happy and energetic! What could be wrong with that?
Well, over time, the brain adds more adenosine receptors to compensate for the caffeine, which causes a tolerance to build up to the caffeine molecule. So you can drink a tonne of caffeinated beverages to feel normal or don't even feel it's effects anymore (ahem. me.) So when I have the order to cut back to a cup or less a day like I have been the last 3 days, my brain is then flooded with adenosine, and dopamine doesn't do it's job properly for a while. The sudden drop in adrenaline levels my body is accustomed to has produced many of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms I have read about. Thankfully keeping a strong cup of Earl Grey in the am menu has staved off any particularly evil headaches and I have tried to fill my days with things I enjoy to be occupied. Even so-I am glad J is working all weekend. I have been a cranky moody tired little hermit and I dearly hope I level out soon and get back to a more decaffeinated normal.
Thankfully I found some really good swiss decaf. I am one of those weirdos who really loves coffee and tea. Hot drinks comfort me. I actually drank a cup of hot water with lemon like a granny on friday at work because I had no herbal tea. I am a (sad to admit) caffeine addict. I get a warm rush when I smell roasted coffee...feel elated when I have a sip. To think I drank almost double this to cope with grad school...jeez. I thought I *was* cutting back...
I am glad my doc told me to do this or I don't know how well I would comply otherwise...
My peeps, I am a sad jittery cranky panda at the moment. Wish me luck.