Diane Gallagher
Features Writer

If you are consuming mass quantities of caffeine to function on a daily basis, you are not alone. A government study shows that at least 68 million Americans drink three cups of coffee or more every day. At least 30 million drink five cups a day or more, and some 21 million drink six or more cups of coffee per day.
“I am a serious coffee drinker. I average two pots a day, from the time I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep at night. I love my coffee,” said Maria Dudley.
According to The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not purely a behavior problem involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex. The experts have a new definition of addiction that is not exclusively related to problematic substance abuse. This new definition of addiction applies to your morning coffee or other energy products.

Many college students have problems with caffeine, which has recently been classified as a form of addiction by American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Many college students have problems with caffeine, which has recently been classified as a form of addiction by American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Addiction is now defined by the ASAM as a chronic brain disorder. Whether it’s caffeine, drugs, gambling or sex addiction, it is not a behavioral, psychological or emotional problem; it is a chronic disease that must be treated, managed and monitored over a person’s lifetime.
Mandy Del Rossi said, “I drink about three or so cups of coffee and two or three cans of soda. I probably go a half a day without caffeine at most.”
Not sure if you would be considered a caffeine addict? Take this 10 question quiz, found on http://www.energyfiend.com, to find out. (Please understand that this quiz is for informational purposes only and not intended to professionally diagnose caffeine addiction.)
1. Do you consume a caffeinated beverage daily?
2. Do you get a headache if you haven’t had caffeine by lunchtime?
3. Do you take caffeine pills if drinking a caffeinated beverage isn’t possible?
4. Do you consume at least 500 mg (4-5 coffees or 3 energy drinks) of caffeine daily?
5. Do you use caffeine instead of sleep?
6. Do you get irritable and impatient if you haven’t had your morning caffeine?
7. Does your current caffeine consumption no longer give you a boost, but just a feeling of “normal”?
8. Do you spend at least 25 dollars a week on caffeinated products?
9. Do you plan your day around getting your caffeine fix?
10. Do you drink more caffeinated beverages than you do plain water?
If you answered yes to nine or more of the questions, you are extremely addicted to caffeine. Without caffeine, you would experience severe withdrawal symptoms that would last for around two weeks or more. It would be wise for you to consider gradually cutting back on your caffeine intake.

Caffeine can be found in multiple kinds of popular beverages.
Caffeine can be found in multiple kinds of popular beverages.

If you answered yes to seven or eight questions you are highly addicted to caffeine and most likely need it in order to function normally. A caffeine detox could be exactly what you need.
If you answered yes to five or six of the questions you are moderately addicted to caffeine. This may only be a problem for anyone who speaks to you before you’ve enjoyed your morning cup of Joe!
If you answered yes to three or four of the questions you are mildly addicted to caffeine. You should be able to easily break the addiction in a day or two and start feeling normal without any caffeine.
If you answered yes to one or two of the questions, congratulations, you are not addicted to caffeine. When it comes to caffeine you could take it or leave it, and you most likely get a buzz when you do consume caffeine.
It is important to remember that your addiction to caffeine didn’t happen in one day, and it may take a few days to break your habit. Here are some helpful steps to follow in order to minimize any discomfort during the detoxification process.
Step 1: Start on a weekend
This will allow you to take naps as needed, since your body will be recovering from the caffeine and you are likely to be tired.
Step 2: Reduce your caffeine intake
For the first three days, cut your daily intake of caffeine in half. If you usually have four cups of coffee in the morning, have two cups on day one of the detox, one cup on day two and half a cup on day three. This will help you wean your body off of the caffeine slowly, and should reduce your withdrawal symptoms.
Step 3: Drink green tea
For the remainder of the week, you can drink one cup of caffeinated green tea. Green tea offers fantastic health and weight loss benefits; you can switch to decaffeinated green tea if you would like to eliminate your caffeine intake completely. Otherwise, it is fine to have one cup of caffeinated, organic green tea a day because the caffeine is minimal, and the health benefits are great.
Step 4: Drink plenty of clean water
You should always drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day regardless of whether or not you are getting off caffeine, but it is especially important for this process because it will keep your body well hydrated and can reduce headaches and constipation, as well as flush toxins out of your system.
Think the detox route isn’t for you, and you can quit cold turkey? You may not want to put your body through that. This could lead to nasty withdrawal symptoms such as strong headaches. If you experience strong headaches, try weaning yourself off of caffeine over a week or two-week period by diluting your caffeinated beverage with water.
After reading all of this you may find yourself thinking, “Why should I try to break my caffeine addiction?” Excessive caffeine intake can lead to several health problems, including:
· Severe adrenal stress
· Anxiety
· Cardiovascular disorders
· Insomnia
· Irritability or mood disorders