Coffee! It is the substance that gets us up in the morning and keeps us alive during the day; but missing that essential cup of liquid magic can cause a whole heap of trouble for a myriad of reasons.
Caffeine, the most important part of coffee, is a stimulant, which means it alters the way the brain and body work. Caffeine increases the amount of dopamine that flows to your brain, which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for happy feelings. Without it we can experience withdrawals, which cause nasty side effects like headaches; these are the most common byproducts of caffeine withdrawal. It happens because caffeine constricts blood vessels. Without caffeine these vessels will expand and increase the blood flow to the brain. This change can be a lot for the brain to handle, and causes pain. Fatigue and concentration problems are another common issue. Caffeine increases alertness by blocking the receptors in the brain responsible for making us tired, as well as adrenaline production, which is produced in reaction to stress. It raises blood pressure and stimulates the brain in a way that allows for greater focus. This is why when we miss a daily dose of coffee, we generally feel exhausted and unable to concentrate on the tasks in front of us.
Reducing withdrawal symptoms is definitely possible; we can cut back on our caffeine intakes slowly, get enough sleep and stay hydrated to counteract the effect the lack of the stimulant has on the body; or we can continue to consume coffee daily. However, no more than 2-3 cups daily are recommended because it is all the body requires to retain the benefits of caffeine!
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 48 Issue 07 on January 30th, 2018