The Benefits and Drawbacks of Caffeine in Recovery

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Caffeine in Recovery

A psychostimulant consumed by more people worldwide than any other psychoactive drug, caffeine is an alkaloid found in cola nuts, cacao, and guarana (Brazilian cocoa shrub). The physically and mentally stimulating effects produced by caffeine are due to its ability to block adenosine receptors from releasing adenosine. Adenosine levels rise gradually throughout the day as an essential substance in promoting sleep. Once you fall asleep, your body depletes the supply of adenosine accumulated during the day.

While caffeine is not harmful when consumed in moderation, some people experience unpleasant side effects from just one cup of coffee, such as nervousness, heart palpitations, and headaches. The question of whether caffeine is addictive largely depends on how much caffeine a person consumes every day. For example, if you were used to drinking one or two cups of coffee a day, you probably won’t have to deal with significant withdrawal symptoms if you decided to stop drinking coffee. However, people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily will likely suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.

Disadvantages of Consuming Caffeine During Recovery

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to significantly distressful. These symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

  • Tension headaches/migraines
  • Decreased energy/alertness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability/restlessness
  • Difficulty thinking clearly/concentrating

Caffeine withdrawal signs are similar to marijuana withdrawal but not similar to cocaine or methamphetamine withdrawal. The onset of caffeine withdrawal symptoms typically begins within 24 hours of abstaining from caffeine, increasing in severity over the next several days and eventually diminishing over the next five days.

Recovering from substance addiction means adhering to a healthy diet, getting plenty of quality sleep, staying physically active, and incorporating mindfulness in your new, sober lifestyle. Caffeine, sugar, and eating too many processed foods may interfere with your recovery by keeping your nervous system in a constant state of hyperactivity. Successfully avoiding relapse involves staying focused, calm, and objective when dealing with everyday stress.

In addition, drinking coffee or taking caffeine supplements during recovery could indicate you want to get re-addicted (unconsciously) to another substance. Defeating addiction is one of the most challenging things anyone can accomplish. Relying on legal substances like caffeine to provide a mild sense of being “high” should be a warning sign that you should seek crisis counseling immediately.

Advantages of Caffeine During Recovery

When used carefully and in moderation, caffeinated beverages can offer several benefits to individuals in recovery. For example, one cup of coffee in the morning can give you a safe boost of energy and alertness you need to help kickstart your day. Clinical evidence shows that caffeine improves mood and may relieve symptoms of mild depression. Coffee, in particular, is also rich in antioxidants that impart numerous health benefits.

As long as people in recovery do not abuse caffeine as a way of self-medicating instead of seeking aftercare counseling, there should be no problem with enjoying a cup of coffee once a day.

If you are in recovery and would like to learn more about Hickory Treatment Centers outpatient services, please get in touch with us today by calling 800-604-2117.

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If you have tried to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, you may feel that sobriety and clean living seem far away. However, with the help of caring staff members and a safe, structured environment, you can receive the guidance you need to fight cravings and regain control of your life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our admission staff or learn more about our healing programs.