Have you wondered why some people can be so full of energy just after having a cup of Joe? It’s simply because their brain cells were stimulated by the caffeine in their drinks. The question is, how long does it take to get addicted to caffeine?
Technically, the answer is no you don’t get addicted to caffeine but you develop a dependence on it. It’s not the same as addiction. On average, it takes around 10-15 days to become caffeine dependent. However, this answer does not apply to each individual as different people have different capabilities to resist dependence on an ingredient i.e. caffeine.
Some people can develop a dependence on caffeine just by having one cup of coffee (100mg of caffeine) per day while others can resist despite having two or three cups regularly. There’s no fixed time to classify yourself as caffeine dependent.
I know, the answer above must’ve left you scratching your head. Don’t worry, we can still find an average number of days to give you an idea about dependence and it starts for most people.
Difference Between Addiction & Dependence
The differences between addiction and dependence are tabulated below:
|You know the harmful consequences but can’t give up on a substance.||Physically relying on a drug, you can give up on it and experience withdrawal symptoms.|
|Performing social functions becomes difficult.||Social functioning is not affected.|
|Withdrawal is mostly painful and extremely difficult.||Withdrawal is not relatively difficult.|
Must read: How Much Caffeine in Nespresso Decaf
How Do You Know If You Are Caffeine Dependent?
Before knowing how long it takes to become dependent, it’s vital that you understand how and when you can consider yourself addicted to a drink or a beverage. This may come as a surprise to many but it’s not just about the cravings you get once you love having a drink.
Dependence is more of a physical phenomenon, your body and mind send you well-timed signals when they expect the intake of a cup of coffee. You can better understand this through an example. For instance, every day before going to the office you prepare a nice hot cup of coffee to accompany you in the car to your office. You sip it while on your way and by the time you reach your office, your drink is finished.
Enjoying this? Also, check out: Does Decaf Coffee Taste Different?
After 2 weeks of following this routine, one day you suddenly decide to go directly to your office without buying your drink because you needed to attend an important meeting. To your dismay, when you reach your office, you feel lethargic and develop a headache. This lasts throughout your meeting. During the meeting, however, they give you coffee, and the headache vanishes. This is a clear-cut sign of caffeine dependence.
Your body did not get its routine amount of caffeine and the right cells that keep you energetic were not stimulated. Hence you feel dull and develop a headache.
This example might not be relevant to everybody reading this, but the purpose was to familiarize you with the concept. This is important because most people don’t even realize that their body is sending them signals and instead try to deal with the situation through unnecessary medications.
Signs of Caffeine Dependence
The signs and symptoms of caffeine dependence may vary from person to person. The list below contains some general conditions you might experience if your body has developed a sort of addiction to caffeine:
As mentioned in the example above, headache, especially at the time when your body expects caffeine intake is a sign of dependence. You may ignore it initially, but if you experience it regularly at the same time, it could be an indication. This might also go away after a few days if you do away with your caffeine altogether.
Some people feel anxious and their body starts to sweat if they don’t fulfill their quota of caffeine intake. This often happens to people who are long habitual of caffeine and are trying to quit due to health reasons. It’s better that they should not end their dependence abruptly.
People find it hard to sleep at night without drinking their favorite coffee. Their brain is wired to sleep only when it gets stimulation from caffeine. Usually, caffeine is associated with keeping you awake, but some of the addicts can become insomniacs if they don’t get their caffeine.
How Long Does It Take To Develop Caffeine Dependence?
It took me around 7-10 days to befriend coffee’s taste and develop a sort of dependence on caffeine (meaning every time I didn’t get coffee at that time of the day, I’d develop a headache).
When do the Effects of Caffeine Withdrawal Start?
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms vary in severity and typically kick in within 48 hours.
These symptoms can last for days and even weeks but they’ll eventually go away. If you have recently started having caffeine and want to do away with it, it should not be too difficult.
On the other hand, if there’s a person who has been having caffeine for years but now needs to cut back on their intake on the doctor’s advice, he/she might experience severe withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may include headache, anxiety, nausea, and more.
How To Quit Caffeine Addiction?
If you are thinking about quitting your caffeine intake you need to make sure it’s not abrupt. If you stop suddenly, there’s a chance you’ll experience the worst withdrawal symptoms. It’s always better to ease yourself into the quitting process.
If you have 3 cups of coffee daily, you should cut back to two per day for a few days and then to one before finally quitting it altogether. Even then you might experience mild withdrawal symptoms, but coping with these would not be difficult.
Is Caffeine Dependence Life Threatening?
If you don’t have any known existing condition, we can’t classify this dependence as a life threat. Most people tend to perform better after having their cup of Joe in the morning.
Recap and Wrap Up
Well, that’s all about how long does it take to get addicted to caffeine. We found that there’s no specific number of days it takes to develop a dependence on caffeine. However, we did highlight some symptoms that you can experience to judge whether your body and mind have developed dependence.
I hope you liked the post. I’ll keep writing about such topics to enhance your knowledge about coffee. If you have anything valuable to add, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Have a great caffeine-free day!