"If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character...Would you slow down? Or speed up?" — Chuck Palahniuk

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Caffeine Addiction

For those who do not think caffeine is a drug I am here to tell you you are deluding yourself! Now as a person who has struggled with addiction and overindulgence all his life I am not just talking out my ass on this one. Granted I am not saying this is worse than dope, cocaine or chocolate but it is definitely nothing to play with.

Tuesday was supposed to be my big day and I was going to quit drinking/consuming caffeine altogether and I made it through the day Wednesday although it was painful. I had a migraine that would not let me sleep, would not let me keep my head up or write anything. My head hurt so bad Wednesday I was tempted to drill a hole on my head to release the pressure. I will be the first to admit I am a bit of a punk when it comes to pain. However, this particular day I was going to man up and take the pain that I knew was coming as this is not the first time I have tried to kick the habit. The other times was not so much from trying but more from running out of money to get my fix but I had been noticing the "side effects" of this habit of mine. The reason I wanted to break the cycle in the first place is that I was noticing that when I drank a lot of soda, my primary source of caffeine Mountain Dew in particular, I was getting bloated and looking fat and stank. My food intake has decreased however I was still getting bigger bout the gut so it had to be the soda, of course I am not going to mention the cookies and the candy cause they don't count in the caffeine equation, well maybe the chocolate in the cookies and candy but I will get back to that. I was looking rather slim and trim when I finally woke up after tossing and turning most of the day Wednesday as opposed to bloated just a day before and today. Yeah I caved in, but more on that later also.

The problem came in when I finally tried to lay down Wednesday night. The headache started anew. Now it could have been the effects of too much vodka but it felt like the same migraine I had been dealing with most of the day Wednesday just in case it was just the vodka I popped a 500mg Motrin and about an hour afterwards I finally passed out. When I came too this morning I still had a bit of a headache and I assumed it was from the caffeine as I did have some tin roof sundae ice cream. Did I mention I am lactose intolerant? I know I am a glutton for punishment but the pain makes me feel alive. That is my story and I am sticking with it!

The reason I love caffeine is probably like most people who say they don't function until they have their daily dose of caffeine. I am the same way I need that jolt to get my day started and I cannot think properly until I do. That is why all day Wednesday I was lethargic, moving kinda slow, and couldn't write although I went ahead and did a little research about my new addiction. I found a great site called MedicineNet.com in particular the Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms, Treatment, Overdose, Health Effects, Facts and Addictions page. I love statistics and numbers but I do not want to recreate the Internet however, I did think these numbers were worthy of sharing in case you don't want to go to the site yourself. After I did the math I was sort of ashamed that I was in the minority and realized that I have a serious problem.

Sources of caffeine
Caffeine content
Plain, brewed 8 oz

135 mg (range 102-200)

Instant 8 oz 95 mg (range 27-173)
Espresso 1 oz 40 mg (range 30-90)
Plain, decaffeinated 8 oz 5 mg (range 3-12)
Tea, brewed 53 mg (range 40-120)
Green tea 8 oz 25-40 mg
Black tea 8 oz 40-70 mg
Soft drinks
Barq's Root Beer 22 mg
Coca-Cola Classic 12 oz 35 mg
Diet Coke 12 oz 47 mg
Dr. Pepper 12 oz 42 mg
Dr. Pepper, diet 12 oz 44 mg
Jolt Cola 12 oz 72 mg
Mountain Dew, regular or diet 12 oz 54 mg
Mountain Dew, MDX, regular or diet 12 oz 71 mg
Pepsi-Cola 12 oz 38 mg
Pepsi, diet 12 oz 36 mg
Sunkist Orange 12 oz 42 mg
Tab 12 oz 46.5 mg
Vault 12 oz 71 mg
Energy drink
Full Throttle 16 oz 144 mg
Monster Energy 16 oz 160 mg
Red Bull 8.5 oz 80 mg
Rip It 8 oz 100 mg
SoBe No Fear 8 oz 130 mg
Spike Shooter 8.4 oz 300 mg
Chocolate, candies, other
Candy, milk chocolate 1 bar (1.5 oz) 9 mg
Candy, sweet chocolate 1 bar (1.45 oz) 27 mg
Cocoa mix, powder 3 tsp 5 mg
Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar 1.45 oz 31 mg
Hot cocoa 8 oz 9 mg (range 3-13 mg)
Jolt caffeinated gum 1 stick 33 mg
Puddings, chocolate, ready to eat 4 oz 9 mg
Frozen desserts
Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch 8 oz 84 mg
Ben & Jerry's Coffee Flavored ice cream 8 oz 68 mg
Häagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream 8 oz 58 mg
Häagen-Dazs Coffee frozen yogurt 8 oz 58 mg
Medicine: over the counter
Excedrin Extra Strength 1 tablet 65 mg
Bayer Select Maximum Strength 65.4 mg
Midol Menstrual Maximum Strength 60 mg
NoDoz Maximum Strength 1 tablet 200 mg
Pain Reliever Tablets 65 mg
Vivarin 1 tablet 200 mg

I am drinking well over 3 cups of this shit per day most times it is 6 to 8, not including the chocolate candy intake which on some days I really do not want to even think about. I have greatly cut my chocolate consumption but some days I do binge a little. According to the chart my 6 cups of Mountain Dew equals about 2592-3408mg of caffeine per day. The average is about 280mg a day. So far today I am at 3 cups that is about 1296-1704mg a day. Yes I couldn't take the pounding headaches anymore and I was tired of not writing. I need to keep writing because I need to keep my skills fresh so I can write this epic novel that is gonna have literary students pissed at me like I was with Shakespeare. That is called foreshadowing so I had some Dew and this is the result.

As you can see I am an hopeless caffeine addict. While I am nowhere near lethal doses of caffeine 80-100 cups per day or approximately 10 grams, I am in the high dose consumption category about 400mg or more per day. So it is like with anything we consume moderation is the key. I need to drop my consumption down slowly, gradually and not completely because there are some benefits to my caffeine addiction in moderation. For example I am "diabetical" meaning diabetes runs in my family. I probably need to be sticking myself and all of that but I don't because I don't have a job with health benefits and can't go to the doctors to find out if I have to be doing that for real. All fodder for another post another day and more digression. My Bad. I mentioned the diabetes because among other things caffeine in moderation has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes. The key again being moderation.

Drink Up!

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