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Ben

Caffeine

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Ben

I truly do love caffeine, I wouldn't call it an addiction, but I do feel a need for it. Nicotine? I can give or take. I smoke the occasional cigar, I chew a bit of tobacco and I've even dabbled with snuff. But I can have cigars sitting in my humidor for months at a time, and I won't feel an urge to reach for them unless I'm in the mood. 

Alcohol - despite my affinity for my whisky collection and craft beer stash, I rarely (if ever) actually drink with the intention of getting drunk. Some of the strong stouts I drink (say 15 to 20% abv) might have me feeling a bit awry, but again, I don't chase the 'buzz'. 

But caffeine? It just does it for me, and I think I know why. It produces oxytocin - the social hormone. And as someone on the spectrum, I truly do notice an enormous improvement within myself socially after only one can of (pick your brand - just not Red Bull. Yuk) energy drink. This isn't exactly a new thing I've noticed, but until recently I just assumed it was the energy kick, but now I believe differently. I think there's something in this oxytocin thing. 

Perhaps moderate to high doses may have a long term therapeutic benefit for those on the spectrum? (Just playing the devil's advocate.) 

Edited by Ben

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RiRi

I've had red bull and I liked the taste of it but I couldn't sleep if I had it. Once I had it before something important and it made me move a lot more than I would and be more anxious. I guess it doesn't work for me.

But, @Ben smoking is not good for you. It lowers your life expectancy. But I do wonder if that's what's helped you be more social. 

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Ben
3 minutes ago, RiRi said:

I've had red bull and I liked the taste of it but I couldn't sleep if I had it. Once I had it before something important and it made me move a lot more than I would and be more anxious. I guess it doesn't work for me.

But, @Ben smoking is not good for you. It lowers your life expectancy. But I do wonder if that's what's helped you be more social. 

If I recall correctly, I did gradually build up a resistance to the stimulation. My central nervous system isn't phased by it now. But I do still get that something. And it feels good. 

 

Smoking in moderation is potentially beneficial to life extension. Studies are sketchy, but there might be something in it. Either way, I ain't living life fearing death. I'd never ACTUALLY  live - and how silly would that be? What would be the point in fearing death in the first place? 

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Willow

*clears throat*

Quote

 

I love coffee. I didn’t always love it, but I always preferred it to tea, so I’ve drunk it my whole life and often prefer to order a coffee at a restaurant rather than a soft drink, even when I was younger. So, as I got older, I drank more coffee, because I don’t really like many other drinks (well, I do, I just don’t want to spend money on them over things like coffee and orange juice), and when I starting going out with people, and we could go places in the car, I started having more coffee at places when we were out – and then recently I started going to Starbucks quite a lot, because I love it there! Anyway, all of this led up to buying a coffee machine, and me choosing several kinds of coffee to make – and then promptly drinking about 4 or 5 cups per day. 

So, after enjoying my coffee machine for a couple of weeks, I ended up feeling really, really down and depressed, and I didn’t know why. I had to stop making videos, writing blogs, posting on my forum, managing all of my social media – everything. I was just lying in bed most days, feeling like I was on the verge of a panic attack. I wasn’t cooking, cleaning or even getting dressed and I was angry at myself for failing to do these things, which would result in crying and anxiety. It was really bad and I was starting to get afraid, because I felt similar to how I did around my nervous breakdown. So as per usual, I thought I’d try and figure out what the hell was going on, before it got beyond my control. 

At first, I thought it might be because I was spending a lot of time with alone. Then I thought maybe it was all the stress of having money troubles. But even though these things bothered me, I felt like it was still something more. 

I had a look online to see if anyone else felt this bad because they were alone all day, but as I was searching, I saw someone listing off all the things that I was feeling, and when I clicked on it, it was an article to do with caffeine. I read through it and realised that I was potentially feeling as hideous as I was feeling, just because of caffeine. It scared me how absolutely on the edge of a breakdown I was, just from coffee (and Coca Cola, probably, though I didn’t drink too much of that). It was ruining my life, I wasn’t able to stay awake all day – despite drinking coffee to try and make me stay awake (I think my body had gotten used to it, so it didn’t work anymore), and I was bitterly unhappy. 

Ironically (or not, I’ve never been able to understand irony), I was mid-way through a cup of coffee as I was reading the article. I put it down immediately and drank a bottle of water, and kept away from the coffee (my lovely, expensive, newly purchased coffee). I went out that night and bought caffeine free coffee and coke. 

The following day I couldn’t keep my eyes open, it was worse than ever before and I felt terrible. In the next few days I got a really nasty headache that wouldn’t go away, so I read up on how people feel when they just stop their caffeine intake. It looked as if I would be feeling pretty rough for the next week. It was really emotional and I was glad I’d bought caffeine free drinks, because I do still love the taste of coffee, so it didn’t feel like I’d given anything up. 

I looked on the bright side though because I knew after the withdrawal symptoms had died down, I should feel better than I had done for a long time. And I do! I’m not unhappy anymore and I’m back to being able to do housework and what not. I haven’t quite jumped back into videos and blogs etc., but I’m edging my way there slowly, because I do think I was stressed anyway, without the caffeine! I just can’t believe how bad it made me feel. I think my Asperger's enhanced it though, because it made my already elevated anxiety levels went through the roof, causing meltdowns etc. 

 

An article I wrote about 6 years ago. I am still caffeine free to this day!

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RiRi

@Willow That reminds me a lot to a section in your The Other Side book. I think it's an excerpt from it actually.

And regarding caffeine or any medication, the withdrawal of it sucks. I've had withdrawals before and they stuck. I literally feel so weak. I wish I wasn't on any medication but I am. 

I guess I'm more for natural non medicated ways to cope with something but it's not always possible.

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Willow

@RiRi - yeah it went into my book in the Appendices section, I believe, but is also on my website as a blog post. :) 

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PandaPrincess

I feel calmer when I don't drink pop, but it's hard to go a day without it.  I feel like when I have headaches and body aches, the caffeine sort of makes the pain go away.  I'm trying to cut back though because I think that that is what is drying my skin out.

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Sanctuary

I drink lots of of coffee. I have cut down compared to years ago but feel content with my current level and don't want to cut down further. No doubt it isn't good for me (or anyone else) but I enjoy it and don't want to give it up. While we should all be striving for a healthy lifestyle I feel we all need certain indulgences - coffee and chocolate are probably mine while others will have their own "vices".

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Nesf

I have been drinking coffee since I was about 10 years old, about two mugs a day. I used to drink more, but I cut down. It doesn't make me any more social, just more alert and less brain fogged. When I was in hospital I had to stop drinking it and after a day without it I developed a headache, which disappeared after a day or so.

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Max000
22 hours ago, Ben said:

I truly do love caffeine, I wouldn't call it an addiction, but I do feel a need for it. Nicotine? I can give or take. I smoke the occasional cigar, I chew a bit of tobacco and I've even dabbled with snuff. But I can have cigars sitting in my humidor for months at a time, and I won't feel an urge to reach for them unless I'm in the mood. 

Alcohol - despite my affinity for my whisky collection and craft beer stash, I rarely (if ever) actually drink with the intention of getting drunk. Some of the strong stouts I drink (say 15 to 20% abv) might have me feeling a bit awry, but again, I don't chase the 'buzz'. 

But caffeine? It just does it for me, and I think I know why. It produces oxytocin - the social hormone. And as someone on the spectrum, I truly do notice an enormous improvement within myself socially after only one can of (pick your brand - just not Red Bull. Yuk) energy drink. This isn't exactly a new thing I've noticed, but until recently I just assumed it was the energy kick, but now I believe differently. I think there's something in this oxytocin thing. 

Perhaps moderate to high doses may have a long term therapeutic benefit for those on the spectrum? (Just playing the devil's advocate.) 

Caffeine is one hell of a drug. By definition an addiction is a "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance". You admit to having a need for it. That is pretty much the same as an addiction. You feel a need for caffeine, but not for nicotine. That is a difference. 

I was addicted to caffeine for 40 years. I absolutely couldn't stop drinking Coca-Cola. I couldn't go much more than a hour without drinking it. To top that off, it was causing me to have non-stop panic attacks. Even to the point of having to go the the hospital for it, because I felt like I was dying. After enough Doctors told me to stop with the caffeine, I felt like I had no choice but to try giving it up. So I kept cutting back on drinking it, and stopped completely after about six months. And honestly I started feeling a lot better without it. Now I have no desire for it whatsoever. I sure wish I had stopped it a lot sooner.  

I still get the panic attacks, but thanks to a lot of therapy, and learning how to deal with them, and the lack of  caffeine, I can control them pretty well. I don't think I could do that if I was still drinking all that caffeine. 

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