72 hours is only three days, slightly less than half the week, a minor blip on an annual calendar. How hard could it be to remain abstinent from essentially anything of my choosing for 72 hours? I created a mental list of things I could quit, after a few hours of self-reflection I decided to make these 72 hours a challenge. While caffeine is a drug, Dr. Michael Kuhar of Emery University in Atlanta prefers to use the term “dependent” rather than “addicted” when categorizing extreme use. (Fortin, 2009) Caffeine is the substance that I consume the most in my life and I would consider myself “dependent”. I consume caffeine every day, I start every morning with coffee and continue to drink it throughout the day. I try to avoid soda and junk food in my diet so almost all of the caffeine that I consume comes from coffee. A typical 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee contains between 95-200 mg of caffeine. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014) About 400 mg of caffeine a day is considered safe, consuming more than 400 mg can start to cause negative effects such as insomnia, irritability and muscle tremors. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014) Throughout my adult life I have straddled the line of healthy and unhealthy caffeine consumption, and I at one point or another I have experienced the symptoms of unhealthy consumption.
First 24 hours
I decided to start my journey through 72 hours of abstaining from caffeine on the first of July. Since this wouldn’t be my first time giving up caffeine I knew it wouldn’t be easy. However, a few years have passed since the last time I went cold turkey. My Wednesday stated like any other, I woke up around 8 am and made breakfast, except this time I skipped the French Press and opted for water instead. After breakfas...
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...at my intake is on the higher side of normal. While caffeine is considered healthy and is nowhere near the level of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, the withdrawal is real. By giving up caffeine cold turkey I experienced a wide array of symptoms that had a negative effect on my daily activities. It is hard to believe how much a single substance can affect your mind and body. This was definitely an eye opening experience for me. It has helped me realize how difficult getting over an addiction can be. Throughout the three day process I found myself thinking about the people who suffer day in and day out trying to overcome the demons of addiction to drugs and alcohol. While I don’t plan to remain abstinent from caffeine, this experience has helped me come to the realization that I need to make adjustments to the amount of caffeine I consume and lower my overall daily intake.
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