The Coffee Illusion: What the Magic Brew Really Does to Your Brain
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If you’ve been drinking coffee for a while, you aren’t getting nearly as much out of it as you did in the beginning. You are just curing an addiction.
“The take home is that regular use of caffeine produces no benefit to alertness, energy, or function. Regular caffeine users are simply staving off caffeine withdrawal with every dose – using caffeine just to return them to their baseline. This makes caffeine a net negative for alertness, or neutral at best if use is regular enough to avoid any withdrawal.”
- Neurologist Stephen Novella from his blog, Neurologica
Mind you, this is not a dependency. You will experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation, but not like with amphetamines and cocaine.
Coffee doesn’t seem to affect the dopaminergic structures related to reward, but before you breathe a sigh of relief, ask yourself how long you’ve been drinking it. Try and stop for two weeks and see how hard it is.
A cup or three will still give you pep, but as with all stimulants, over time you need more and more to reach that golden hum.
Don’t freak out, 90 percent of Americans are just like you, and you are not so smart.