Why is Caffeine Bad in Addiction Recovery?

Recovering from addiction can be tricky to navigate. Obviously, your focus is on avoiding relapse by maintaining your sobriety through improved behaviors and decision-making.

Attending addiction therapy and community-based support groups are common ways to improve your social network by avoiding negative people and places that trigger your substance use. But, as in all cases, changing your habits and behavioral patterns can often lead to different personal routines and practices.

For instance, it may become common place to start smoking cigarettes while in recovery. Or perhaps you increase your caffeine intake to satisfy your body’s need to feel something akin to the rush it received when your addiction was in full swing.

Combine this with the fact that many community support groups actively encourage smoking and caffeine consumption by offering smoke-breaks during meetings and free coffee for all who attend, and you have the makings of another bad habit to avoid.

While consuming caffeine seems like a better option than the other addictions you’ve dealt with, substituting one addiction for another is a bad way to begin your recovery journey.

Take the time to understand just how addictive caffeine can be and why it is best to avoid it throughout the recovery process:

Is Caffeine Addictive?

Studies have shown that caffeine has the potential to create a physical addiction within individuals. The amount of caffeine you consume daily, as well as the strength of what you’re drinking, plays into its addictive properties. For example, the average cup of coffee contains about 100mg of caffeine and energy drinks contain around 75 to 90mg.

Add biological predispositions to addictive behaviors (which, if you are in recovery, you know you have) and developing a caffeine addiction is a real threat to someone consuming large amounts daily.

Most addictions share clinically identifiable symptoms:

  • A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use
  • Continued use despite harm
  • Characteristic withdrawal symptoms

These symptoms are often used by clinical professionals to diagnose substance use disorders, and a recent study identified that a good proportion of caffeine users develop them over time.1

Caffeine and Addiction Recovery

Because of the identifiable addictive components of caffeine, and the fact that so many people in recovery use it as a substitute for their prior substance use, avoiding excessive caffeine consumption while in addiction recovery is important.

The purpose of beginning recovery is to establish healthier lifestyle choices. To do so, you need to make sure that the substances you are consuming do not alter your natural state of being.

Excessive caffeine use impacts both the brain and body in negative ways, so minimizing your caffeine consumption during the recovery process is important to establishing healthier habits.2

Why Avoid Caffeine in Addiction Recovery?

In order to understand why you should avoid caffeine in addiction recovery, you need to understand how caffeine can negatively impact you. Some of the identified issues relating to caffeine consumption include:

  • Caffeine can affect you neurologically.
    Recovery is focused on helping your mind and body recuperate from the damage that addiction inflicts. Caffeine consumption has been shown to alter dopamine production, serotonin and GABA. Avoiding caffeine ensures that your mind and body can properly heal throughout the recovery process without becoming dependent on another substance.
  • Caffeine can impact vitamin absorption.
    Developing healthier eating habits and improved nutrition is a key step in recovery. Eating a balanced diet and taking vitamin supplements to help the body heal properly is recommended, but caffeine consumption can impact your body’s ability to absorb some supplements. It has been shown to inhibit the absorption of iron, vitamin D, calcium and potassium – all of which are essential to your recovery.
  • Caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety and stress.
    Caffeine consumption can increase your body’s production of key chemicals that control stress and overall mood. These include acetylcholine and adrenaline, both of which can induce feelings of anxiety and stress when excessive amounts are produced. Addiction recovery helps you to identify and manage stress and anxiety in a healthier manner, but if your caffeine consumption is causing your brain to overproduce stress-inducing chemicals, you’re actively defeating all of your efforts to attain a healthier state of being.1

Don’t Let the Negative Effects of Caffeine on Addiction Hurt Your Recovery Process

If you have made the effort to begin your recovery journey, doesn’t it make sense to avoid all unnecessary relapse triggers?

While drinking coffee or energy drinks may seem innocent enough, the fact of the matter is that excessive caffeine consumption has been shown to create addictive patterns within individuals.

For someone who has a predisposition to substance use disorders, developing a reliance on a substance like caffeine is increasingly dangerous. Instead of worrying about how caffeine will impact your recovery or how much is too much, make it easy and simply avoid it when possible.

Holistic Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Your health and recovery are more important than your need for caffeine.

Offering an alternative to the traditional twelve step program, Ranch Creek Recovery offers a variety of all-encompassing, holistic in-patient treatment services. Your situation is unique. So, your treatment should be customized to fit your individual recovery needs – including avoiding other addictive substances, like caffeine, while on your journey to sobriety.

Learn more about our addiction treatment programs. Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

Resources:

1 National Center for Biotechnology Information. Caffeine Use Disorder: A Review of the Evidence and Future Implications. Accessed September 14, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4115451/

2 Healthline. Are Coffee and Caffeine Addictive? A Critical Look. Accessed September 14, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-addiction#section2