Treatment for caffeine addiction may not be considered, by some, to be as important as alcohol or drug addiction However, some medical professionals consider it to be a drug. An addiction to caffeine can cause debilitating symptoms, such as altered blood pressure, an altered heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, tremors and the inability to stop ingesting caffeinated drinks and foods. These products might include coffee, chocolate, cola, cold remedies and pain killers. Common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are headaches, some times they are severe. They can last up to several days. Depression, sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating and mood swings are also common when eliminating caffeine from your diet. These symptoms may continue up to nine days after being off of caffeine. This may, or may not, be too much for you to handle on your own.
Treating yourself for caffeine addiction is possible if the dependence is not severe. Itís suggested, to avoid or lessen withdrawal symptoms, that you wean yourself gradually. If coffee is your source of caffeine, as it is with most caffeine dependencies, consider how many cups you drink throughout the day. Then, try to eliminate just one of those cups each of the first three days. Replace the caffeinated coffee with a decaffeinated beverage, herbal tea, or even just warm water. Continue this process, eliminating an additional cup of coffee, every three days. Eventually, you should be able to eliminate caffeine from your diet without experiencing harsh withdrawal symptoms.
Another part of addiction is the psychological factor. A tape may continue to run through your mind, not letting you rest from thoughts of ingesting caffeine. This aspect of an addiction is important to consider. The constant reminder, makes it extremely difficult to stay away from the addictive substance. Hypnotherapy has been very helpful in eliminating the mental addiction to caffeine. It can help with your continual mental reminder of the substance. It can also help by replacing common withdrawal symptoms with more positive reactions. For most people, hypnosis is not an instant cure, however. It may take several sessions to make a complete transition.
Sometimes group counseling is recommended by an addiction counselor. This may be in conjunction with other treatments. Your participation in discussion within a group of people, with the same problem, is helpful in itself. Others can offer suggestions of ways they have avoided caffeine use that may be helpful to you. A set appointment each week, also keeps you on track, knowing you will be confronted by the counselor and other caffeine addicts at the session.
The best time to consult with your health care professional about caffeine addiction is before you attempt to eliminate it from your daily use. Your physician can explain to you what to expect, in detail. He can then explain what can be done about the symptoms. After the initial consultation and guidance, the physician can prescribe medication for symptoms that arise. He may suggest over the counter medications, for a headache, that contain little or no caffeine. If the pain is not helped by these, he may have to prescribe a stronger pain reliever. In some cases, withdrawal can bring on nausea. The doctor can prescribe anti-nausea medication for this symptom.
Alternative treatments are available, but you should always consult with your health care professional before using them. The herbs scullcap and valerian can help to calm nervousness associated with caffeine withdrawal. It may be best to try them on a weekend, at home, when you can see how they affect your system. Daily meditation can also help to give you a feeling of peace and wellbeing.