Sunday, 13 December 2015

Drinking coffee.

 I was reading about something that researchers, in their wisdom, have chosen to call "caffeine use disorder". Reading between the lines, this simply means drinking too much coffee? And, of course, because the researchers concerned are working at an American university that also means that those who suffer from "caffeine use disorder" need therapy. 

Here's a sample of what I read: "Like many psychoactive substances, coffee will induce withdrawal symptoms if you stop consuming it. The researchers suggest that the resulting “headache, fatigue and flu-like symptoms” as well as the “anxiety, jitteriness, upset stomach and tense mood” are best dealt with using cognitive behavioural therapy. Patients on the “caffeine fading” programme that resulted from the research are given time with a trained therapist and sent home with a booklet of helpful hints." 

Years ago, back when our children were small, a friend of mine who worked from home, used to make a pot of coffee at the start of the day and consume it as she went through the various tasks she had to complete. Like many of us trendy young things at that time, she thought she was very sophisticated to be drinking "real" coffee instead if the horrid instant stuff. Gradually she found herself needing to make a second pot halfway through the day. Then one day she ran out of coffee. By mid afternoon she was feeling very much on edge and had the beginnings of a headache. Withdrawal symptoms! 

She decided that going cold turkey might be too drastic - she had a small child to look after as well - and opted to cut down her coffee consumption a little every day. Amazingly she did not need a trained therapist to advise her in her "caffeine fading" programme. 

I thought of this yesterday evening as I drank a second cup of coffee with my daughter while we caught up on the gossip, not having had a chance to do so recently. It went through my head that I should make that my last coffee of the day if I wanted to get a good night's sleep. But isn't it strange that our society seems to need someone to put labels on ordinary events of life and that there are people who can't choose the common sense option without an expert telling them what to do. 

I think the writer of the original article about "caffeine use disorder" agreed with me as she went on to say, "Is jitteriness a symptom, or just a descriptor of modern life? And fatigue? I don’t know much about the working life of an American medical academic, but if they have kids and mortgages, then fatigue is also pretty much a given constant. This isn’t withdrawal, it’s what happens when you don’t drink enough lovely, delicious coffee. Coffee, the simple, natural beverage that perks you up, delights your tastebuds and reinvigorates your mind." 

So it goes.

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