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☕️ Our caffeine addiction
Giving caffeine the respect (and caution) it deserves
Time to read: 2 mins & 44 seconds — 548 words. Written by Joseph Pack.
In the realm of stimulants, caffeine holds an unparalleled dominance.
Each morning, billions worldwide reach for their coffee mugs, tea cups, or energy drinks, seeking the jolt that awakens the senses and kickstarts the brain. It's often remarked that life truly commences after that initial sip of caffeine.
Yet, in 2016, caffeine put me in hospital.
Using coffee as a tool to navigate my ADHD, I unknowingly teetered on the edge and suffered five seizures in one night.
The aftermath? A punishing withdrawal that led me to question my faith in caffeine.
Survey the scene in any high street, and the narrative is consistent: bustling coffee shops, people clutching takeaway cups, and the inescapable aroma of brewing tea.
Indeed, 80% of the global population is tethered to this age-old ritual. Given its millennia-long history and deep cultural roots, particularly in our society, it's easy to view caffeine as a benign companion.
But could this everyday indulgence hold hidden perils?
Though my ordeal was harrowing, I'm not alone. An article in Esquire highlighted the distressing ordeal of a Navy Officer who faced a similar dance with caffeine's darker side.
It’s tempting to label such episodes as mere anomalies. After all, only a fractional percentage of caffeine consumers ever confront such dire consequences. But it's imperative to remember: caffeine, as unassuming as it might seem in our teapots and cafetières, is a psychoactive substance.
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Life begins after tea: this widely accepted notion was once my steadfast belief.
Pre-2016, imagining life, especially one marked with ADHD, without my caffeine dose seemed unfathomable. Yet, destiny had an alternative path charted out for me, one devoid of caffeine.
The outcome? Surprisingly great!
Now, as I enjoy a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea, the once-intense caffeine cravings have ebbed away. Morning lethargy, a formidable foe for many, seldom clouds my day, even following a restless night. On challenging days, I've discovered healthier refuges:
Rejuvenating breathing exercises
Invigorating cold showers
What message am I hoping to convey? This isn't a crusade against caffeine or a plea to forsake your favourite tea shop.
Instead, it's an appeal for self-awareness. While caffeine can invigorate and soothe, it's not devoid of risks. As we sip our morning brew, it's crucial to remember its potent nature and engage with it judiciously, rather than with unthinking habitualness.
Perhaps it's worth pondering the entrenched role of caffeine in our daily routines.
Maybe the next time weariness looms, we might consider other invigorating alternatives: a refreshing walk in the park, a moment of mindfulness, or even a few minutes of meditation.
For those striving to manage ADHD without medication, the journey is paved with alternatives. Caffeine might be one avenue, but it demands respect and awareness.
To everyone grappling with ADHD, let us be endlessly curious, discerning, and in tune with our bodies. Solutions are as diverse as our experiences. With diligence and introspection, we can unearth the best strategies for our unique challenges.
I'm keen to understand your dynamics with caffeine. Your experiences, insights, and reflections will enrich this ongoing discourse.
Let’s further this dialogue.
Comment below, or hit reply and tell me your story.