?Coffee and Dependence, True? or is it a Myth

?Coffee and Dependence, True? or is it a Myth

The word "coffee" entered the English language in 1582 from the Dutch word koffie, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, which in turn, was borrowed from the Arabic word qahwah (قهوة). The earliest credible evidence of drinking coffee appeared in the middle of the 15th century in Yemen. Furthermore, coffee was known to be used by Sufi circles to stay awake for their religious rituals for its alerting effect. Coffee is often consumed shortly after waking up to help increase alertness and fight sleep inertia, post-lunch dip, or when working for long hours at night.

Coffee is popular for its recognized behavioral stimulant. But that isn’t the only reason people may drink coffee. The pleasurable aroma and taste of coffee, as well as the social environment, are considered to be great motives. Also, it can be a part of a habitual morning routine.

?What, exactly, happens when you drink coffee

When you drink a cup of coffee, it goes to the small intestine and gets absorbed and dissolved into the bloodstream. Caffeine molecules look very similar to Adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter naturally present in our brain. Adenosine acts as a depressant as it promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. Caffeine looks so much like it that, it can fit neatly into its receptors in the brain and block them off. When Caffeine molecules are blocking those receptors, they prevent its effect, leaving you alert and energized for hours.

Now you know that Caffeine isn’t a stimulant on its own, rather, it is a stimulant enabler!

While you are keeping your Adenosine receptors blocked by Caffeine the brain cells grow more adenosine receptors, which is the brain’s attempt to compensate for the constantly sleeping receptors. This explains why regular coffee consumption makes you crave more coffee over time because you have more Adenosine receptors, which takes more Caffeine to block the growing number of receptors.

Caffeine dependance has been debated for many years for its pleasant and stimulating effect. The results of recent studies, that used brain mapping technology, showed that Caffeine failed to activate the brain circuit of dependence. It only activated regions involved in attention, vigilance, and anxiety, as well as regions controlling vegetative functions. Concluding that caffeine does not fulfill the criteria to be described as a drug of dependence.

?!You may be wondering; what about withdrawal

The known Caffeine withdrawal symptoms are headache, reduced alertness, and drowsiness. These symptoms start about 12 to 24 hours after sudden cessation of Caffeine consumption and reach a peak after 20-48 hours. The good news is that, compared to many drug addictions, the effects are relatively short-term. You only need 7 to 12 days maximum to get through these symptoms without drinking any caffeine. During that period, your brain will naturally decrease the number of adenosine receptors, in response to the acute default of Caffeine.

By: Mariam Anwar MHussain